Renewables (R)Evolution

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LATEST NEWS ON THIS TOPIC

Ottawa Announces $5.2-Billion Bailout for Muskrat Falls Hydro Megaproject

The Trudeau government has agreed to a tentative, C$5.2-billion bailout for Newfoundland and Labrador’s troubled Muskrat Falls hydropower megaproject, aimed at stopping local electricity rates from almost doubling while taking some of the immediate heat off a province facing serious financial woes.

U.S. Nearly Doubles Wind and Solar Capacity in 2020

The United States almost doubled its new installed capacity of wind and solar power in 2020, according to the American Clean Power Association (ACPA).

Weak Regulation Drives Down Wages in U.S. Renewables Sector

Wages for U.S. renewable energy workers stack up poorly against their coal and gas counterparts, casting doubts on President Joe Biden’s vision for a green sector that rebuilds the middle class.

Heat Wave Stresses Pacific Northwest Utility Grids, Shows Value of Demand Response

Changing weather patterns are altering energy use trends in the Pacific Northwest, revealing shortcomings in regional demand management strategies and setting the stage for innovation.

‘Provincially Legislated Monopoly’ Blocks Renewables in New Brunswick, Developer Says

A solar and wind power developer in Fredericton is taking the New Brunswick government to task for letting a “provincially legislated monopoly” keep a lid on renewable energy investment.

Indigenous-Led Renewables Can Support Reconciliation, Climate Action

Green partnerships could hold the key to improving the Canadian government’s deeply damaged relationship with Indigenous peoples—while bolstering its lacklustre record in fighting the climate crisis.

Wildfire Wave Creates New Risks for U.S. Solar Operators

Wildfires have cost the United States solar industry tens of millions of dollars in losses over the last decade, and the costs could add up as blazes across the western U.S. become more frequent and severe, warns renewable energy insurance specialist GCube.

345-MW Texas Wind-to-Hydrogen Project is Biggest in U.S.

Growing demand for hydrogen-based technology is driving renewable energy expansion in Texas—including the largest wind-powered hydrogen project in the U.S.

Fossils’ Messaging Embraces Climate as Investors Shift to Renewables

Top financiers are shifting their dollars from fossil fuels to renewable energy, while turning up the heat on oil and gas companies to address emissions and climate risks in their meetings with investors, according to two separate analyses published this week.

New Solar Projects Train Indigenous Youth in 2 Saskatchewan Communities

Two Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous communities are engaging younger generations in renewable energy by launching in-school solar power projects.

‘Moral Equivalent of War’: Mass Retrofits Drive Deep Emission Cuts, Torrie Says

In 1906, American philosopher William James coined the phrase “the moral equivalent of war” in referring to the problem of sustaining political unity and resolve in the absence of war. U.S. President Jimmy Carter used the phrase in his famous energy crisis speech of 1977 to describe what it was going to take to respond to the security threat posed by the OPEC oil embargo.

Democrats Include Clean Electricity Standard, Border Carbon Tax in $3.5-Trillion Budget Plan

A clean electricity standard, a border tax on imports from polluting countries, renewable energy and electric vehicle tax breaks, a new “methane reduction fee”, funding for a civilian climate corps, and a raft of health care and family service elements are central elements of a US$3.5-trillion budget that U.S. Senate Democrats unveiled Wednesday.

Proposed U.S. Clean Energy Bill Could Save 317,000 Lives

The Biden administration’s proposed clean energy standard could enable a swift drop in emissions and save hundreds of thousands of lives between now and 2050, says a new report.

EU Introduces ‘Sweeping’ New Laws to Hit 55% by 2030

The European Union executive has introduced a dozen new laws aimed at curbing carbon pollution, raising renewable energy targets, plant three billion trees, and cut the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions 55% by the end of a “make-or-break decade” for climate and biodiversity.

Trudeau Announces $25 Million to Expand Gaspé Wind Turbine Plant

Low-carbon investments continued to hold pride of place in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pre-election tour this week, with the PM travelling to Quebec’s Gaspé region Wednesday to announce C$25-million for an expanded wind turbine plant.

Wind turbines

Majority of Canadians Want Investment in Renewables Before Oil

Wind, solar, and hydrogen energy are gaining ground in the minds of Canadians, with more than half of respondents telling the Angus Reid polling agency they want to see renewables prioritized over fossil fuels.

‘Nothing to See Here, Folks’, as Canada Sends Updated Carbon Target to UN

The federal government is facing reactions ranging from disappointment to mockery after filing its updated carbon reduction target, or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), with the United Nations climate secretariat this week.

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Shell Announces CCS Plan for Edmonton-Area Refinery

Shell Canada Ltd. has announced tentative plans to build a large-scale carbon capture and storage project at its Scotford Complex near Edmonton, part of its strategy to become a net-zero emissions company by 2050.

U.S. Coal Plant Shutdowns Speed Up as Renewables, Batteries ‘Disrupt the System’

The United States coal industry is shutting down power plants so fast that the trend looks like the opposite of the “S-curve” often used to track the growth of new technology innovations like solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, or iPhones, according to a report released yesterday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Fossils Tout ‘Uncompetitive’ Hydrogen Cars to Delay Decarbonization, Liebreich Says

Fossil fuel companies are happy to hype “uncompetitive” uses of hydrogen in cars and home heating if it means delaying the shift to electric vehicles and heat pumps that are practical and affordable, Bloomberg New Energy Finance founder Michael Liebreich said in a recent interview.

University of Calgary Suspends Admissions for Oil and Gas Engineering Program

The University of Calgary has decided to suspend new admissions to its bachelor’s program in oil and gas engineering.

B.C. Plan Risks GHG Emissions from ‘Blue’ Hydrogen

British Columbia’s natural gas-friendly government is taking fire for introducing a new hydrogen strategy, the first to be introduced by any Canadian province, that emphasizes “blue” hydrogen production from methane-heavy gas alongside “green” hydrogen development meant to reduce emissions and produce cleantech jobs.

International Student Initiative Plans to Train 50,000 Young Renewable Energy Workers

A Canadian-based global renewable energy solutions group is joining forces with New Energy Nexus and the Government of Denmark to help deploy 10,000 new youth-led clean energy initiatives by 2030.

Peace River

Extensive Fracking, Industrial Development Violate B.C. First Nation’s Treaty Rights, Court Rules

The Blueberry River First Nations will be able to limit development in a key natural gas fracking region in northeastern British Columbia, after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the province violated Treaty 8 with the amount of industrial development it had permitted in the area.

‘Total Mitigation’ Strategy Will Save 37 Billion Tonnes of Carbon, Create 122 Million Jobs: IRENA

The shift to a decarbonized energy system will create 122 million jobs in 2050, 43 million of them in renewable energy alone, but require US$131 trillion in investment over the next three decades, the International Renewable Energy Agency concludes in its World Energy Transitions Outlook issued late last week.

Wildfire Smoke Suppresses Solar Panel Output

A recent analysis of California’s devastating 2020 fire season has confirmed something long suspected: wildfire smoke does have a negative impact on solar panel output.

EU’s Offshore Renewables Plan Must Not Sacrifice Marine Protections

If the EU does not want to sacrifice its marine ecosystem in its efforts to meet its Paris targets, it must deploy its plans for a 25-fold increase in offshore wind with more monitoring and less rule-breaking, says a new position paper.

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California Brings Renewables ‘Into the Spotlight’ with 11.5-Gigawatt Power Purchase Plan

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is calling for 11.5 gigawatts of new generating capacity, almost all of it clean, by 2026, a procurement equal to one-fifth to one-third of the power the state consumes.

Flexible Demand, Greater Electrification Can Drive ‘Significant’ Carbon Cuts

Flexible demand can help the United States meet more of its energy needs with electricity, and produce more of that electricity from renewable sources, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) concludes in an analysis released last month.

Decarbonization ‘Feels Like a Slog’, but ‘Wonderful Transformation’ Lies Ahead, U.S. Grid Exec Tells Webinar

The shift to a decarbonized grid may seem clunky and uncertain at the moment, but it will sort itself out over the next decade, a senior executive with U.S. electricity giant NextEra said earlier this month.

Deep Retrofit Program Could Fix Every Canadian Building by 2035, Supply Enough Electricity for 10 Million EV’s

Taking on an audacious “national retrofit mission” would enable Canada to upgrade every building in the country by 2035, eliminate their fossil fuel consumption by 2050, make energy poverty a thing of the past, and free up 50 terawatt-hours of electricity for other uses—enough to eliminate 60 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year if it were used to power 10 million electric vehicles, according to new analysis released this week by Efficiency Canada.

Clean Energy Will Create More Jobs by 2030 than Fossil Industry Will Lose, New Analysis Shows

Canada is on track to add more than 200,000 clean energy jobs this decade, considerably more than 125,000 that will be lost in a declining fossil fuel industry, Clean Energy Canada concludes in an analysis released last week.

‘Blue’ Hydrogen Emissions Are Higher than Coal, Leading U.S. Researcher Warns

Despite the cascade of hype around hydrogen, the varieties derived from fossil fuel have a higher carbon footprint than coal, while emitting far more climate-busting methane than producing the same amount of energy from natural gas, a leading U.S. fracking researcher warns in an opinion piece for The Hill.

‘Outdated Perception’ Blocks Adoption of Renewables as Cheapest Power Source: IRENA

Almost two-thirds of the new renewable energy capacity installed last year can generate power less expensively than the cheapest fossil fuel option, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

U.S. Ban on Xinjiang Solar Components Could Jeopardize Climate Target

Chinese-made materials used in solar panels will be barred from the U.S. market as part of a broader effort to halt commerce tied to China’s repressive campaign against Uyghurs and other minorities, the Biden administration said Thursday.

Big Alberta Solar Farm to Sell Power to Amazon

Amazon announced Wednesday it will purchase power from a massive new solar farm in Alberta, marking the e-commerce giant’s second renewable energy investment in Canada.

Canadian Survey Shows Split on Preserving Jobs vs. Preserving Climate

The majority of Canadians believe a national climate plan must nurture strong economies across the country, but there are sharp regional differences on how that plan should be carried out, the latest Confederation of Tomorrow survey shows.

O’Regan Announces $1.5-Billion Clean Fuels Fund for Hydrogen, Bioenergy

The hydrogen and biofuel industries were both paying close attention this week after the federal government announced a C$1.5-billion Clean Fuels Fund, aimed at boosting the country’s supply of hydrogen, renewable diesel, synthetic fuels, renewable natural gas, and sustainable aviation fuel.

Developers ‘Blindsided’ as Australia Scuttles 26-Gigawatt Renewable Energy Hub

Australia has pulled the plug on a proposed 26-gigawatt plan to produce green hydrogen and ammonia from wind and solar power, just months after the project was awarded major project status by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coal-friendly national government.

No Change in Fossil Fuel Use Despite ‘Tremendous’ Global Growth of Renewables, Report Finds

The world is recording tremendous growth of renewable energy in the electricity sector, but its share of total final energy consumption (TFEC) continues to increase only moderately and still isn’t making a dent in global fossil fuel consumption, according to the Renewables 2021 Global Status Report (REN21).

Fossils’ ‘Net-Zero’ Alliance Has No Phaseout Plan, Relies on Shaky Carbon Capture Technology

Canada’s five big tar sands/oil sands companies are raising eyebrows with their plan to form an Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero alliance aimed at cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 without reducing their actual oil production.

Report Calls for Climate, Biodiversity Action to Work in Tandem

A landmark report is warning that global heating and biodiversity collapse are intertwined crises that will be solved only if they are solved together—critical information for policy-makers as the world prepares for this fall’s global biodiversity and climate conferences.

Fast Renewables Growth Triggers Scramble for Qualified Workers

As the shift off carbon accelerates, clean energy companies are scrambling to find the people power they need to keep the lights on.

Vietnam Solar Capacity Grows 100-Fold Since 2019

Solar uptake in Vietnam has reached eye-blinking speed, with a 100-fold increase in generation just since 2019.

Coal-Heavy Queensland Commits $2 Billion to Clean Energy Jobs

Australia’s fossil-heavy state of Queensland is committing A$2 billion to create what Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called a “self-reinforcing cycle of investment—a job-generating clean energy industrial ecosystem”.

United Offers ‘Obnoxious Dunk on the Climate’ with Supersonic Jet Buy

With United Airlines touting its decision to buy 15 new supersonic aircraft as a win for sustainable flight, the company’s critics are pushing back on “the most obnoxious dunk on the global climate” and “the best example yet of what an empty pledge ‘net-zero’ is turning out to be”.

Surging Wind, Solar Deliver 93% of New U.S. Grid Capacity

Wind and solar accounted for nearly all of the new electrical generating capacity installed in the United States between January and April this year.

Air Products Fort Saskatchewan

$1.3-Billion Edmonton Project Raises Hopes for Blue Hydrogen, Doubts About Greenwashing

A plan by a Pennsylvania-based industrial gas and chemical company to build a C$1.3-billion “blue” hydrogen plant in Edmonton is raising cautious optimism about a new way to drive the transition from a fossil- to renewable-based fuel, while raising concerns about the methane emissions the project could trigger and its potential to lock in future demand for climate-busting natural gas.

Ford F-150 LIghtning

Ford’s New Electric Truck Offers Backup Home Energy Storage

Ford Motor Co. may have introduced a major, new twist in the off-grid energy storage market, thanks to a feature of its new F-150 Lightning electric truck that will enable owners to power their homes from their vehicles.

Chinese Solar Farms Seek Sheep to Keep Weeds Neat

The world’s largest solar farm, located in the Tala Desert in northwestern China, has embraced an age-old method of keeping the weeds down without harming the environment: herds of voracious sheep.

solar power

Investment Must Triple by 2030 to Hit 1.5°C Target, IEA Warns

Global clean energy investment must triple by 2030 to fulfill the projected 1.5°C future in the International Energy Agency’s net-zero by 2050 roadmap, the agency warns today in its annual World Energy Investment report.

Renewables in South Australia Grid Leap from 0 to 60% in Just 14 Years

The breakaway success of the South Australian electricity grid, which literally took renewable energy from zero to 60% of total demand in just 14 years, points the way for other jurisdictions to rapidly decarbonize their power supplies, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis writes in an analysis published last week.

power pylons sunrise grid

California Grid Rethinks Benefit of Energy Efficiency for Environment, Equity Goals

California is changing the way it values energy efficiency, calculating the “total system benefit” of conservation programs to include environmental and equity goals as well as economic savings on reduced energy use.

Canada, G7 Fall Short on Green Strings for COVID Recovery Funds

Canada spent significantly more of its COVID-19 recovery dollars on renewable energy than on fossil fuels, but has attached few green strings to that funding and is still failing on a crucial commitment to international climate finance, according to new analyses published ahead of next week’s G7 summit in Cornwall, England.

VCIB Unveils First Dedicated Loan Program for Commercial Solar Projects

Canadian businesses and non-profits will be able to borrow up to $10 million to install solar panels on their properties under a new commercial solar financing program introduced by the Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB).

Ottawa Unveils $5,000 Home Energy Retrofit Grant

The federal government is receiving a rocky response after unveiling its seven-year, C$2.6-billion plan to help Canadians cover the cost of home energy retrofits.

EXCLUSIVE: Canada Helped Prod IEA for Net-Zero Pathway

Canada played an important behind-the-scenes role in prodding the International Energy Agency to develop its landmark Net-Zero by 2050 pathway, while the Trump administration would have been in a position to exert outsized influence on the IEA’s governing board to obstruct progress, The Energy Mix has learned.

budget day 2021

Opinion: ‘Climate Ambition Poker’ Masks Canada’s Fossil-First Energy Plan

In the space of a few days in April, Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement jumped from 30% to 36% to between 40 and 45%. Going into this latest round of climate ambition poker, the federal government, we were told, had already put everything it could on the table and was tapped out. But along came the White House climate summit, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upped the ante by another 50%.

Australia Pushes Forward with Gas Plant Despite Surging Renewables, Batteries

A rush in commercial acquisition of battery storage in Australia may be negating the need for a planned A$600-million gas-fired power plant in New South Wales before the facility is even built.

Critics Pounce after Kerry Says 2050 Carbon Cuts Depend on ‘Technologies We Don’t Yet Have’

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is receiving severe pushback for his comment in a weekend interview that half of the greenhouse gas emission reductions that must be achieved by mid-century depend on technologies that don’t yet exist.

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Don’t Look to CCS, Hydrogen for Quick Carbon Cuts, Le Quéré Warns Canada

It would be a big mistake for Canada to count on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) or hydrogen to meet its 2030 climate targets when those technologies will make “zero contribution” to emission reductions over the next decade, renowned Canadian climate scientist Corinne Le Quéré told a webinar audience Monday morning.

energy efficient home retrofit

Ottawa Looks to Train 2,000 New Energy Advisors for Home Retrofit Program

The federal government is looking to train 2,000 more people to do energy audits as it tries to get its new green home renovation program off the ground.

Syrians in Rebel-Held Region Embrace Solar Panels as ‘Blessing from God’

An “unlikely solar revolution of sorts” is taking place in Idlib Governate, a rebel-held province in northwestern Syria, where local residents are turning to a cheap electricity source they can count on in the midst of a brutal, 10-year civil war.

Canada Lags on Renewables Due to ‘Disconnect between Ambition and Action’

The lack of a predictable, long-term development plan is holding Canada back from emerging as a global leader in renewable energy production, according to a new international market assessment by London, UK-based IHS Markit.

Wind turbines

Transition Off Fossils Could Be Cheaper, Faster than Net-Zero Models Assume

The transition off fossil fuels could be a lot less expensive than standard net-zero models assume, as long as countries speed up deployment rather than waiting for (even) cheaper low-carbon and energy-efficient technologies, concludes a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Martha's Vinyard

Biden Administration Approves 800-MW Vineyard Wind Project

The Biden administration has approved the 800-megawatt, US$3-billion Vineyard Wind project off the Massachusetts coast, the United States’ first utility-scale offshore wind farm and a key plank of the new White House effort to shift the country’s electricity system to renewables.

Spain Sets Modest 2030 Emissions Target, Earns Praise for Banning New Fossil Permits

The Spanish parliament has adopted a new climate law that calls for just a 23% emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2030, but immediately bans new permits for coal, oil, and gas operations, sets a 2040 deadline to phase out fossil fuel vehicle sales, and commits the country to generate 74% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

wind turbine construction

IEA Sees ‘Exceptional’ Solar, Wind Growth as ‘New Normal’

The “exceptional” global growth of solar and wind capacity is set to become a “new normal” in 2021 and 2022, the International Energy Agency says, prompting the epically cautious organization to boost its forecast of future renewables growth by 25%—just six months after it published the last set of figures.

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Suncor, ATCO Seek Government Backing for ‘Multi-Billion-Dollar’ Hydrogen/CCS Project

Tar sands/oil sands producer Suncor Energy Inc. is partnering with utility ATCO Ltd. on a “multi-billion-dollar” project to produce more than 300,000 tonnes per year of hydrogen—as long as governments are ready to facilitate the deal, and taxpayers are standing by to help clear some of the financial hurdles.

rooftop solar

Community Solar Microgrid to Save $4 Million for Northern Ontario First Nation

Nearly three dozen households in the Taykwa Tagamou Nation in northern Ontario stand to save hundreds of dollars per month on their power bills with the installation of rooftop or ground-mounted solar panels over the next few months.

air conditioning

More Than One Billion Lack Access to Cooling, Risk Illness and Heat Stress

As the pandemic drives up poverty rates, a lack of access to cooling technology has now put more than a billion people at increased risk of heat stress, food insecurity, job loss, and COVID-19 infection.

New Solar, Wind Now Cheaper than 80% of U.S. Coal Plants

Renewable energy prices have fallen so far in the United States that it’s usually now cheaper for operators to replace existing coal capacity with new solar and wind investments, rather than continuing to run the coal plants, according to new analysis released last week.

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China Can Peak Coal Consumption, Power Sector Emissions by 2025, Researcher Says

An energy researcher from Peking University is pointing to a pathway for China to peak its coal consumption, coal-fired generation capacity, and power sector carbon emissions by 2025, in line with President Xi Jinping’s remarks at the White House Leaders’ Summit on Climate April 22.

Biden’s Infrastructure, Conservation Plans Not (Necessarily) in Conflict

U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent pledge to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030 need not clash with its earlier promise to reduce emissions by expanding the country’s wind and solar farms—as long as those implementing renewable energy policy do so with an eagle eye on sustainability.

‘Silence Speaks Very Loudly’ as Solar Replaces Diesel for Yukon First Nation

The town of Old Crow, Yukon will get to shut off its noisy, polluting diesel generators for the first time in 50 years, after the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation’s new solar farm reaches full capacity in July.

Massive Carbon Footprint May Give Governments a Path to Curb Growth of Cryptocurrencies

While proponents of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin steadfastly claim their operations will be carbon-neutral by 2030, their net impact so far is to keep a fracked gas plant in New York State in operation.

New Generation of Video Game Designers Brings Climate to the Foreground

After years or decades of treating nature as a backdrop for its virtual landscapes, the US$140-billion global gaming industry is bringing climate and other environmental issues to the foreground, just as a United Nations report identifies video games as an important influencer in raising environmental awareness.

Canada Faces Lawsuits on HFC Exemptions as U.S. Announces Fast Action

The Canadian government is facing a lawsuit and accusations of hypocrisy after allowing chemical giant DuPont an extra two years to comply with restrictions on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), just as the Biden administration in the United States announces swift action to reduce emissions of the climate-busting greenhouse gas.

Victoria LNG Project Gets Swept Away in Australian Renewable Energy Surge

As Australian energy provider AGL officially pulls the plug on its proposed Victoria coast LNG import terminal, a new report predicts a surge in renewables could leave natural gas delivering as little as 1% of the country’s power mix by 2030.

New York School E-Bus Fleet Could Help Utility Cut Peak Power Demand

An energy management company in Baltimore and a fleet operations company from California are looking to electric vehicles as “mobile microgrids” to help utilities balance renewable energy supplies with customer demand and reduce the need for peak power.

Barcelona Tests Solar Pavement in Small Urban Park

In an initiative that could boost solar capacity in the urban areas that need it most, Barcelona has installed Spain’s first photovoltaic pavement.

Biden Connects Climate to Jobs as Coal Miners Hold Out for Results

With a US$2-trillion infrastructure plan on offer, and a $1.8-trillion American Families Plan backing it up, U.S. President Joe Biden took advantage of his first address to a joint session of Congress to reprise a central theme from his election campaign: that climate action and job creation go hand in hand.

Climate Scientists Explain Why Net-Zero is a ‘Dangerous Trap’: Part 1

In a searing historical account of the various technological fixes on the road to net-zero emissions, veteran climate scientists James Dyke, Robert Watson, and Wolfgang Knorr conclude the whole effort has been a “dangerous trap”. In Part 1 of this two-part series, they explain how early climate modelling replaced critical thinking, and carbon capture schemes gained traction against real carbon reductions.

Ontario Creates ‘Innovation Wasteland’ with Latest Renewables Rollback, Critic Warns

The Doug Ford government is turning Ontario into an “innovation wasteland” and setting the province up to increase its dependence on greenhouse gas-intensive natural gas with its latest plan to eliminate renewable energy requirements in provincial legislation—and making its move while communities are preoccupied with a brutal third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, renewable advocates say.

Biden Could Mandate 80% Emissions-Free Grid by 2030

The Biden administration is considering a national clean energy standard to get 80% of the country’s electricity from emissions-free sources by 2030, as a stepping stone to its goal of delivering a net-zero grid by 2035, according to an exclusive report this week from the Reuters news agency.

Don’t Fall for Fossil Industry Spin, NAACP Warns U.S. Communities of Colour

The NAACP is warning its regional chapters not to fall for fossil industry manipulation by outlining the key tactics through which Big Oil advances its own interests in U.S. communities of colour.

Carpenter, Passive Solar Builder, Systems Change Advocate: Toronto Climate Community Mourns Peter Shepherd

Climate campaigners and green community practitioners in Toronto shared their shock and sadness, and accolades began pouring in, as word spread over the last week that carpenter, passive solar builder, green economy practitioner, peace and climate justice campaigner, and systems change advocate Peter Shepherd had died April 21 at age 63.

Climate Impacts Could Cost Canada $140 Billion by 2050, Insurance Giant Warns

Canada will be more than $100 billion poorer by 2050 if the world doesn’t work harder to fight climate change, says one of the world’s largest insurers.

Haley: Ottawa’s Energy Efficiency Plans Will Hinge on ‘Nitty-Gritty Details of Implementation’

While last week’s federal budget cemented a significant increase in government support for energy efficiency, the “nitty-gritty details of implementation” have yet to be filled in and more funding will be needed to deliver the scale of building retrofit activity the country needs, Efficiency Canada Policy Director Brendan Haley argues in a follow-up analysis.

Biden Promises 50-52% Emissions Cut by 2030

President Joe Biden confirmed a much-anticipated 50 to 52% emission reduction target for the United States yesterday morning, kicking off a two-day Leaders’ Summit on Climate intended to reassert American leadership on global climate action and prompt other high-emitting countries to embrace faster, deeper carbon cuts this decade.

Some Countries Commit, Others Deflect as White House Pushes for Faster Carbon Cuts

The Biden-Harris Leaders’ Summit on Climate was scheduled to open with statements from leaders of more than two dozen countries, in what the White House signposted as “an opportunity for leaders to highlight the climate-related challenges their countries face and the efforts they are undertaking”.

Cities Can Reconfigure and Adapt to Cut Emissions 90%, Prepare for Climate Impacts

Cities are uniquely vulnerable to climate change, but likely will be early adapters against that threat.

Federal Budget Puts $17.6 Billion into Green Recovery, Tips 36% Emissions Cut by 2030

The federal government is getting decidedly mixed reviews for a 2021 budget that announces but doesn’t quite spell out C$17.6 billion in green recovery spending over the next five years, while tipping a 2030 emissions reduction goal of 36% that may be superseded within days by a more ambitious government target.

Ottawa Offers $40,000 Interest-Free Loans for Deep Energy Retrofits

The federal government is hoping a budget provision for C$40,000 interest-free loans will be sufficient incentive to encourage 200,000 Canadian households to undertake deep retrofits on their homes.

Analysts Search for Details as UK Pledges 78% Carbon Cut by 2035

The United Kingdom has announced plan to legislate a 78% greenhouse gas emissions target for 2035, putting the country in what one news report calls a “world-leading position”.

IEA Projects Alarming 5% Growth in CO2 Emissions This Year

Renewable energy is the success story of the COVID-19 era, but the global economic recovery may see energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise by nearly 5% this year, their second-largest annual increase ever, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in a report this week.

EU Defers Decision on Green Label for Nuclear, Natural Gas

The European Union was expected to defer a decision on whether its new green finance rules, due to be published today, would list nuclear and gas-fired power plants as sustainable investments, according to leaked documents obtained last week by Euractiv.

‘Checking the Boxes’ in Federal Climate Plan Won’t Deliver on Canada’s Paris Targets, Researchers Warn

Two veteran public interest researchers have come up with a troubling equation they say is at the heart of the federal government’s climate strategy: Carbon Pricing + Hydrogen + Carbon Capture + Nuclear = Paris 2030 and beyond.

Federal Budget-Watchers Expect ‘Pivotal Moment’ for Canadian Climate Action

From transit to home energy retrofits, from natural climate solutions to green innovation funding, the federal budget tabled today by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will put an end to months of lobbying, advocacy, and speculation from climate policy advocates looking for a solid federal commitment to climate action.

Trudeau Expected to Announce 40% Emission Reduction Target as Analysts See End to ‘Canada’s Silly War’ on Carbon Pricing

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expected to increase Canada’s 2030 carbon reduction target to more than 40%, and the Conservative Party embracing carbon pricing (however fractiously) as a central plank of their own emerging climate strategy, analysts and major media are pointing to a narrowing of the political polarization that has helped block decisive action on climate change.

Analysis: Unmeasured Methane Could Undercut Canada’s Blue Hydrogen Drive

The inability to accurately measure and regulate methane emissions from natural gas operations is emerging as a gaping, potentially fatal flaw in a Canadian climate strategy that appears to lean increasingly on a continuing presence for the oil and gas industry, with large volumes of hydrogen to be produced from natural gas.

U.S Global Intelligence Report Presents Stark Climate Vision for 2040

The latest Global Trends report from the U.S. National Intelligence Council offers harrowing projections alongside glimmers of hope in its visioning of how the post-pandemic world may—or may not—respond to the climate crisis by 2040.

Etobicoke Firm’s New Solar Roof Panels Mimic Traditional Shingles

Etobicoke, Ontario-based Mitrex Integrated Solar Technology has introduced a line of roofing panels that mimic traditional asphalt and slate shingles and incorporate a patented building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology.

Virginia’s ‘Solar Barn Raisings’ Help Power Community Spirit

A solar non-profit’s work with Habitat for Humanity to bring “solar barn raising” to Virginia communities is putting paid to the myth that solar is only for the rich.

IEA Urges ‘Massive’ Energy Efficiency Gains to Hit Net-Zero Targets

Countries will need “massive improvements” in energy efficiency to achieve their net-zero targets under the Paris Agreement, International Energy Agency policy analyst Alyssa Fischer argues in a recent commentary.

‘Chaotic’ UK Retrofit Program a Cautionary Tale for Trudeau, Biden

A failed attempt at a building energy retrofit program in the United Kingdom could offer lessons for governments in Canada and the United States as they prepare to launch their own plans.

Alberta Researchers Land $2.9-Million Federal Grant to Produce Jet Fuel from Ag Waste

A research team at the University of Alberta has received a C$2.89-million grant from Natural Resources Canada to produce jet fuel from waste fats and oils.

Pre-Budget Talk Centres on National Child Care Plan as Trudeau Mocks Conservatives’ Climate Policy

Fresh from a Liberal Party policy convention over the weekend, the Trudeau government is just days away from an April 19 budget that is widely expected to emphasize a national child care plan alongside a menu of green economic recovery measures.

Decolonize Climate Policy, Address Structural Inequalities, Indigenous Climate Action Urges Ottawa

Canada needs to rethink its climate policies to stop excluding Indigenous people from decision-making, respect Indigenous rights to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent, deliver solutions that reflect the realities of both rural and urban Indigenous communities, and address “structural inequalities that are continually being reproduced through colonial relation, processes, and structures in so-called Canada,” Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) concludes in a report issued late last month.

Site C Man Camp Makes Good Use of Waste Food on Project Meant to Inundate Prime Farmland

A B.C. man camp operator’s well-intentioned plan to keep waste food out of the nearest landfill is colliding with the permanent food security impact of the hydro dam the camp was built to serve, raising tough questions about how socially responsible a contractor can be when the bigger-picture impact of the project is far beyond their control.

Supreme Court Carbon Ruling Could Trigger ‘Start-Up Explosion’ but Loopholes Undermine Federal Floor Price

A U.S. technology newsletter is touting Canada’s newly-confirmed carbon tax as a likely catalyst for a “start-up explosion” in several branches of cleantech, even as the Globe and Mail reports on the loopholes some provinces have opened up in the federal scheme—with the Trudeau government’s blessing.

Biden Jobs, Infrastructure Plan Aims to ‘Turbocharge the Transition’ Off Fossil Fuels

U.S. President Joe Biden travelled to Pittsburgh last Wednesday to unveil a US$2-billion jobs and infrastructure plan that includes a 10-year, $650-billion commitment to a U.S. clean energy transition, with big allocations for building energy retrofits, electric vehicle infrastructure, grid modernization, public transit, and union jobs cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells and mines.

‘No Means No’, Indigenous Groups Say, as Sweden Cancels Solar Geoengineering Experiment

The Canadian scientist behind a controversial attempt to combat climate change by dimming the sunlight reaching the Earth is vowing to keep at it after Sweden’s space agency decided last week to cancel what many critics considered a wildly untenable experiment.

Danish Architects’ Prefab Façades Could Cut Building Energy Use in Half

An architectural design collaboration in Denmark is hard at work on a prefab, modular façade that can be quickly installed on an existing building to boost its energy efficiency.

Record 260 GW of New Capacity in 2020 ‘Marks Start of the Decade of Renewables’, IRENA Says

Renewable energy producers around the world installed a record 260 billion watts of new capacity last year, with China and the United States setting the pace, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports this week.

Renewable Stocks Deliver 422% Return in 10 Years, Outperform Fossils Seven-Fold

Investors’ overall returns on their renewable energy stocks have outperformed fossil fuels three-fold over the last five years and seven-fold over the last 10, coming in at 422.7% for the decade compared to just 59% for fossil shares, according to an analysis released last month by the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment (CCFI) at Imperial College Business School and the International Energy Agency.

U.S. Looks to Canada as ‘51st State’ for Supplies of Electric Vehicle Minerals

Less than two weeks before U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled a US$2-trillion infrastructure plan with heavy emphasis on electric cars and clean electricity, U.S. Department of Commerce officials were touching base with Canadian mining companies and battery producers to look at amping up production of electric vehicle components.

Climate-Denying Kansas Senator Plans Straitjacket for $14-Billion State Wind Industry

At hearings last week chaired by a climate change denier and green energy critic, the utilities committee of the Kansas Senate considered a measure to limit expansion of a wind energy sector that already supplies 41% of the state’s electricity, the second-highest share in the United States.

Biden to Announce Massive Jobs and Infrastructure Plan as Allies Push for Climate Spending

U.S. President Joe Biden will be in Pittsburgh today to announce a massive new jobs and infrastructure plan worth as much as US$4 trillion over the next eight to 10 years, potentially paid for with tax hikes of up to $3 trillion on corporations and the country’s highest income earners.

Reliable Solar Can Support Vaccine Distribution in Africa

The struggle to acquire and distribute COVID-19 vaccines in many African countries is only the latest iteration of a long-standing problem: poor electricity access. Reliable and easy to install, distributed solar may be the answer for the world’s rural health clinics.

U.S. Aims for 30,000 MW of Offshore Wind as Industry Urges Faster Global Deployment

The Biden administration has unveiled a US$3-billion plan of loan guarantees and accelerated permitting aimed at installing as many as 2,000 offshore wind turbines along the U.S. Atlantic coast and generating 30,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030.

New Legislation Requires Massachusetts to Reach Net-Zero by 2050

Two months after he vetoed a landmark climate bill, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) has signed something very similar, with a 2050 net-zero target and raft of measures that include more offshore wind, new building codes, and benchmarks for electric vehicle adoption.

Economic Future Looks Dim for Appalachian Fracking, Plastics Production

Those banking on reviving Appalachia with shale gas and plastics would do well to think again, says a new report. A resource glut and competition from renewables are liable to make the former unprofitable, while market forces are seriously reducing the odds of the latter’s success.

U.S. Aims to Cut Solar Costs 60% in a Decade

The United States government is setting out to cut the cost of solar-generated electricity by 60% over the next decade, five years ahead of schedule.

Growth of Canada’s Renewable Energy Capacity to Slow Through 2023

Renewable electricity capacity in Canada will grow over the next few years at less than half the rate it’s seen in recent years, according to federal projections.

74% of Scientists Want Virtual Meetings to Continue Post-Pandemic

After a year of pandemic lockdowns, travel restrictions, and endemic Zoom fatigue, 74% of researchers want scientific meetings to continue in virtual formats or offer a virtual option, according to a survey of 900 readers released earlier this month by the journal Nature.

Invest in Bioeconomy to Tap $200-Billion-Per-Year Opportunity, Industry Advocate Urges Ottawa

Canada is missing out on a C$200-billion-per-year opportunity to build an industrial bioeconomy using feedstocks from forestry, agriculture, and municipal solid waste, Passmore Group CEO Jeff Passmore writes in a post this week for Biofuels Digest.

Top Architecture Award Picks Refurbishment Over High-Carbon Reconstruction

For the first time in its 46-year history, the most prestigious award in architecture has gone to a firm that has devoted three decades of work to retrofit and refurbishment, rather than new construction.

Shiny, New Innovations Won’t Move Fast Enough to Deliver Deep Carbon Reductions

Even the most promising new emissions reduction innovation would only have a limited impact on the climate crisis if it were introduced today, given the time it would take to scale up, according to a global climate policy simulator profiled yesterday in the Bloomberg Green newsletter.

New Report Counts 600+ Cities in 72 Countries with 100% Renewable Energy Plans

The latest global status report on renewable power in cities shows that 2020 was a good year for the development of targets and policies at the municipal level, with more than 610 municipalities in 72 countries setting 100% renewable energy targets by year’s end.

Wealthy Countries Hit Peak Oil Use, but Global Demand Headed for Record High Unless Governments Take Action

Wealthy countries will never return to their pre-pandemic levels of oil consumption, but rebounding economic activity in the developing world could drive daily demand to new highs within two years without much stronger government leadership toward clean energy, the International Energy Agency warned in its Oil 2021 assessment released last Tuesday.

Don’t Let Nuclear Boosterism, ‘Hydrogen Hype’ Distract from Practical Renewable Alternatives, Analyst Urges

Nuclear boosterism and “hydrogen hype” mustn’t distract countries from the renewable energy technologies that can actually deliver on a 2050 target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, @Forum4theFuture founder Jonathan Porritt argues in an opinion piece last week for The Guardian.

‘Conventional Energy Bubble’ Could Cost Utilities $1 Trillion as Cheap Renewables Undercut Fossil Plants

Power utilities are on track to lose US$1 trillion over the next 15 years after analysts, agencies, and bankers grossly overestimated the revenue they’re likely to generate through 2040 and beyond, RethinkX founder Tony Seba and research fellow Adam Dorr warn in an opinion piece this week for Utility Dive.

Canada-Germany Agreement Spotlights Tensions Over Renewable, Fossil-Based Hydrogen

Canada and Germany have signed an agreement to team up on green energy innovation and trade, with an eye to hydrogen as the market for the low-carbon fuel heats up.

U.S. Revives $40-Billion Loan Program Office with Jigar Shah at the Helm

The Biden administration is reactivating a US$40-billion loan office left on hold in the years since the Obama presidency, with pioneering cleantech entrepreneur and investor Jigar Shah at the helm and a mandate to capture a share of a $23-trillion global market for low-carbon technologies—along with a simultaneous appetite for research on fossil and nuclear technologies.

Use Energy Efficiency to Counter Energy Poverty, Analyst Urges

Energy efficiency is an essential part of the solution for the 20% of Canadian households now living in energy poverty—but the country’s major news outlets have yet to factor that reality into their coverage, Efficiency Canada argues in a recent blog post.

Lion Electric to Build $185-Million Battery Plant in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec

Electric school bus and truck manufacturer Lion Electric is building a new C$185-million battery pack assembly plant near its headquarters in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, after the federal and provincial governments each invested $50 million in the new venture this week—possibly forestalling a decision to locate the factory in the United States.

Indigenous-Led Dakota Wind Project Holds Lessons for Just Transition

With some of the windiest places on the continent sited within their territories, six Oceti Sakowin (Lakota) tribes in South Dakota are three years into development of a major wind power project. And with the project well under way, the community has much to teach about achieving a just energy transition.

‘Low-Carbon’ Diesel, Hydrogen Plant Expects $100M in B.C. Government Credits

Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd. says it expects to receive C$100 million in provincial government low-carbon fuel credits if it proceeds with a plan to build renewable diesel and renewable hydrogen facilities at its Prince George Refinery in British Columbia.

solar power

Canadian Wind, Solar Boost Market Share Tenfold in a Decade—to 6%

The market share of power generation from wind turbines and solar panels in Canada’s electricity mix has jumped tenfold in the past decade—from a starting point that was less than a percentage point in 2010.

Federal Carbon Tax Revenue Funds Energy Retrofits for 172 Ontario Schools

The federal government will spend more than C$40 million of carbon tax revenue to make Ontario schools more energy efficient, the Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced last Wednesday.

Fort Nelson First Nation Nabs Federal Funding for 15-MW Geothermal Project

Ottawa has committed more than C$40 million to fund the development of geothermal power from a diminishing natural gas field in northern British Columbia.

‘Default Effect’ Drives Massive Growth in Green Power Adoption

When green power is the fallback option for electricity consumers, the large majority of them will accept it rather than going to the trouble of switching to other sources, experience in Switzerland shows.

Brookfield to Supply Hydro-Generated Electricity for U.S. Green Hydrogen Plant

Toronto-based Brookfield Renewable Partners is planning to supply electricity from its Holtwood hydropower plant in Pennsylvania to a U.S. fuel cell company aiming to cash in on the growing green hydrogen boom.

800-MW Vineyard Wind Project Off Massachusetts Coast Moves Closer to Approval

The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm is inching closer to U.S. government approval, years after an earlier project off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts was brought down by an unusual alliance between the Kennedy and Koch families.

Decentralized Energy Is Critical for African Vaccine Distribution

Getting vaccines (and good health care in general) to all the people who need it depends on connecting remote and rural health centres to renewable energy. And making that happen will require multilateral cooperation, including the United States taking its “build back better” mantra to the global stage.

$565-Billion House Bill Aims to Cut U.S. Emissions 50% by 2030, Decarbonize Grid by 2035

The United States would cut its greenhouse gas emissions 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 and count on a clean electricity standard to achieve a 100% clean energy grid by 2035 under legislation reintroduced this week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Analysts Hope for Earlier Emissions Peak as China Focuses Five-Year Plan on Climate Action

With China widely expected to release its latest five-year economic plan today, analysts were cautiously hoping for a major milestone on the road to a decarbonized future, while watching for indications of whether the country would begin cutting its emissions soon enough and deeply enough to bring it fully in line with the targets in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Appalachia’s Coal Fate Could Hold Lessons for New Mexico

Analysts are warning that New Mexico’s dependence on oil and gas could lead to the same legacy of poverty and pollution as Appalachia inherited after the decline of coal. That has some observers pointing to the option of a better ending—by using the state’s confirmed potential as a solar and wind powerhouse.

Developers Clash with U.S. Cities on Vote for Greener Building Codes

Two years ago, sustainability-minded city planners across the United States discovered they could vote to change the national energy codes that many states adopt to set efficiency standards for larger buildings. Voting in droves, they voted deep green. Now, developers are determined to overturn the results.

New Technologies Could Cut Millions of Tonnes of Carbon, Save U.S. Utilities Billions of Dollars

Utilities in the United States could cut millions of tonnes of carbon pollution, save billions of dollars, and double their capacity for new wind and solar capacity if federal government incentives can be set up to support a suite of “grid-enhancing technologies”, the Boston-based Brattle Group concludes in a report released last month.

New Window Design Directs Sunshine, Indoor Light to Solar Cells

An engineering team at Rice University in Houston has come up with a new design for window glass that redirects incoming sunlight, or even indoor illumination, to solar cells that can turn it into electricity.

War-Torn States Look to Local Renewables, Rooftop Solar for Greater Stability

Desperate to improve energy access for their citizens, some of the world’s most fragile states have delivered an open letter to wealthy nations, development banks, and the private sector, pleading for support to expand distributed renewable energy systems like inexpensive and relatively conflict-resistant rooftop solar.

Western Australia Plans 1,000 New Microgrids Combining Solar+Storage+Hydrogen

The Labor government in Western Australia expects to save hundreds of millions of dollars with a A$259-million, five-year green manufacturing plan that will see 1,000 new microgrids, combining solar, batteries, and hydrogen electrolyzers, installed across the state.

Siemens Exec Pitches Hydrogen for Air Travel, with a Side of Captured Carbon

A very enthusiastic Siemens Energy executive is pitching a synthetic fuel that combines captured carbon dioxide with hydrogen from solar-powered electrolysis as an alternative to the kerosene-based fuel that currently powers the aviation industry.

B.C. Pushes Forward with Site C Hydro Megaproject Despite $16-Billion Price Tag

Premier John Horgan has given the green light for work on British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam to proceed, citing termination costs of more than C$10 billion and expert opinion that the geotechnical problems that have haunted the project can be fixed. Members of the West Moberly First Nations say they’ll see the province in court.

TAF Urges $27-Billion Federal Investment for ‘Well-Functioning Deep Retrofit Market’

The federal government should build on the work of the 2020 Task Force for a Resilient Recovery by investing at least C$27 billion in resilient, energy-efficient buildings and directing the dollars to help build an effective deep retrofit industry, The Atmospheric Fund recommends in its 2021 pre-budget submission.

Quebec River is First in Canada to Gain ‘Legal Personhood’

With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding through Quebec’s Côte-Nord region, the Magpie river has long been a culturally significant spot for the Innu of Ekuanitshit.

Now the river, a majestic, world-renowned whitewater rafting destination, has been granted legal personhood status in a bid to protect it from future threats, such as hydroelectric development. Its new status means the body of water could theoretically sue the government.

Nova Scotia Unveils EV, Energy Retrofit Fund, but Climate Analysts Look for More

Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin has announced C$19 million in rebates to help people buy electric vehicles and to assist low-income families in making their homes more energy efficient.

Communities in B.C.’s West Kootenays Sign on to New 100% Renewables Playbook

Building non-partisan community support for climate action that will endure through municipal election cycles is an absolute imperative to solving the climate crisis. That is the core message being delivered in the West Kootenay EcoSociety’s 2020 Climate Playbook and Toolkit.

‘There’s a Lot to Rebuild’, Trudeau Tells Biden, as Canada, U.S. Map Climate Partnership

Accelerating climate ambition and building back better are two of the six components of a new U.S.-Canada partnership roadmap that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden released yesterday, during the first official summit between the two leaders and their senior cabinet officials.

U.S. Wind, Solar Post Record Growth in 2020 Despite Pandemic Restrictions, Job Losses

United States solar and wind developers had a record year in 2020 despite punishing restrictions and job losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately rising to 20% of the country’s electricity production, according to new data released last week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

Toronto Cuts Climate Funding, Delays Long-Term Emissions Plan as Pandemic Strains Finances

Toronto city council decided last week to delay planning activities and reduce funding for its TranformTO climate plan, ignoring warnings that the climate crisis and the community’s own environmental targets will make it tough to make up the lost time.

Federal Committee Undercuts Net-Zero Pledge by Making Airtightness Testing Voluntary

The federal committee responsible for building code development is undercutting Canada’s commitment to a net-zero future by making airtightness testing a voluntary measure, Efficiency Canada warns in a new blog post.

Texas Blackouts Highlight Disaster Risk for U.S., Canadian Utilities

With many Texans still scrambling to recover from a week of freezing cold weather, power blackouts, and water shortages, early analysis in the United States and Canada is pointing to the episode as a wake-up call for grid operators—and electricity users—across the continent.

BREAKING: Texas Was ‘Seconds and Minutes’ from Months-Long Blackouts, Grid Operator Admits

At least 47 people were dead, hundreds of thousands of homes were still without power, half of the state was under a boil water order, racialized communities were bearing the brunt, and the electricity system operator admitted it had only narrowly averted months-long blackouts as Texas began taking stock of a rolling disaster brought on by climate-driven severe weather and ideologically-driven grid deregulation.

New U.S. Scenarios Show State-by-State Benefits of Net-Zero Shift

A modelling study published earlier this month by three U.S. organizations breaks down the state-by-state benefits the country can expect from the drive to a net-zero economy by 2050.

Bitcoin Draws as Much Electricity as Argentina as Consumption Quadruples in Four Years

With the computing power that drives the popular cryptocurrency bitcoin now consuming nearly as much energy as Argentina, analysts are warning the renegade technology’s carbon footprint will only get worse as it becomes more popular.

Brutal Cold Snap Triggers Rolling Blackouts, Drives Up Power Costs as Texas Gas Plants Fail

A brutal blast of cold, winter weather this week killed at least 14 people in four U.S. states, dropped snow and ice on an area from Texas to New England, took 34,000 megawatts of power offline in Texas, drove wholesale electricity rates up by more than 10,000%—and prompted a brief, inevitable burst of complaints directed at the state’s wind farms, before it became clear that most of the missing electricity was from the state’s gas plants.

Explainer: IISD Lays Out Pros and Cons of Subsidizing Hydrogen Development

As countries chart paths to net-zero economies by 2050, hydrogen has enjoyed a new wave of attention. But a key question facing governments is whether the benefits of subsidizing hydrogen development outweigh the risks, the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Richard Bridle and Estan Beedell note in a detailed explainer.

Too Much Sahara Solar Development Could Bring Regional, Global Climate Impacts

The world’s most forbidding deserts could be the best places on Earth for harvesting solar power—the most abundant and clean source of energy we have. Deserts are spacious, relatively flat, rich in silicon—the raw material for the semiconductors from which solar cells are made—and never short of sunlight. In fact, the 10 largest solar plants around the world are all located in deserts or dry regions.

Net-Zero Home Rides Out Edmonton Cold Snap with No Furnace Required

A net-zero home in Edmonton, Alberta stayed toasty warm this week when the polar vortex brought bitterly cold temperatures to town, enabling Darryl Zubot and his family to stay comfortable and safe—without having to turn on the furnace.

Shareholders Squirm, Climate Analysts Pounce as Shell Releases ‘Grotesque’, ‘Delusional’ Climate Plan

Colossal fossil Royal Dutch Shell is taking criticism from all sides for its latest attempt at a decarbonization strategy, with fossil-friendly investors driving its share price down 2% after last week’s announcement while climate campaigners declare the plan “grotesque” and “delusional”.

Wilkinson, McCarthy Hold First Talks on Cross-Border Climate Action

With a new administration in Washington, DC setting climate action as one of its four defining priorities, Canadian Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has opened conversations with his U.S. counterpart on “an array of potential new agreements” for cross-border cooperation, the Globe and Mail reports.

Indigenous Clean Energy Seeks Federal Endowment to Build ‘Decolonized Energy Future’

With nearly 200 renewable energy projects in progress, each of them generating more than a megawatt of electricity at full capacity, Indigenous Clean Energy is calling on the federal government to invest C$500 million in a “decolonized energy future” for Indigenous communities.

Fund Low-Income Building Retrofits in Upcoming Budget, Efficiency Canada Urges Ottawa [Sign-Ons]

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s 2021 budget must include funding for building energy retrofits for low-income households that can’t afford the up-front cost of a home renovation, Efficiency Canada argues in a sign-on published this week.

India Was Forewarned About Himalayan Flood Disaster Risks

Experts and residents in India have long been sending a message to the Modi government in India: Do not build hydroelectric dams in the Alaknanda-Bhagirathi basin. But those warnings were ignored, and now the collapse of the Nanda Devi glacier has left a toll of at least 26 dead and nearly 200 missing, as the fear of further collapse grips the living.

Trudeau Touts Hydropower Exports as U.S. Looks to Canadian Dams for Electricity Storage

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking to promote hydropower exports to the United States, as one response to President Joe Biden’s commitment to decarbonize his country’s sprawling electricity grid by 2035. But analysts say Canada’s network of hydro dams might be useful as a place to store renewable power, rather than generating it.

Study Shows U.S. Decarbonizing by 2050 for $1 Per Person Per Day

The United States—per head of population perhaps the world’s most prodigal emitter of greenhouse gases—can reverse that and have a carbon-free future within three decades, at a cost of no more than $1 per person per day, according to a new study in the journal AGU Advances.

Canada Can Thrive on Road to Net-Zero if Governments Make Good Decisions Now

Canada has multiple opportunities to thrive along the road to a net-zero economy by 2050 as long as governments make the right decisions now, concludes a study released this week by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (CICC).

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Line 5 Pipeline Battle Produces Overheated Claims on Job vs. Environment

As officials in Michigan look to shut down the Line 5 pipeline, business interests in Ontario and Quebec are warning of dire economic effects. But others—like Green Party Leader Annamie Paul—say there are opportunities, too, and that presenting the pipeline as a choice between jobs and the environment is a false, and dangerous, dichotomy.

Floating Solar Could Boost African Hydropower Output by 50%

Covering just 1% of Africa’s hydroelectric reservoirs with floating solar panels could double the continent’s hydro capacity while increasing dams’ output by 50%, delivering a huge boost to a region struggling with the dual impacts of the climate emergency and widespread energy poverty, a new study concludes.

GM to Supply Fuel Cells for Hybrid-Electric Trucks

In about three years, Lisle, Illinois-based engine maker Navistar plans to start selling low-emission hydrogen-powered heavy trucks under a partnership with General Motors and a small distribution company called OneH2.

NS Firm Launches Latest Effort to Harness Bay of Fundy Tides

A large floating platform with six underwater turbines was launched Monday near the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, marking the latest high-tech bid to generate electricity by harnessing the bay’s powerful tides.

Nine Dead, 140 Missing as Fractured Himalayan Glacier Triggers Flash Flood in Northern India

Officials are already pointing to climate change as the cause of a devastating disaster Sunday that killed at least nine people and left 140 construction workers missing in northern India, after a Himalayan glacier fractured and triggered a torrential flood that slammed into two hydroelectric plants.

‘Hydropower Era May Be Over’ as Wind Farms Draw New Investment in Quebec, B.C.

Wind energy investment received twin boosts in Quebec and British Columbia last week, with one of the announcements prompting the Globe and Mail to comment that “the era of building big new hydropower dams in Quebec might be over”.

Wyoming Citizens Divided on Economic Shift from Fossil to Renewables

As the low-carbon transition takes hold, fossil-producing Wyoming is at a crossroads. The windy state is grasping at the potential to invest big in renewable power—but old habits die hard, and uncertainty about wind’s ability to deliver has many citizens fearing change.

Italian Utility Giant Enel to Close All Gas Plants by 2050, Sees No Future in CCS

Italian utility giant Enel SpA is promising net-zero operations by 2050, setting out to eliminate natural gas from its power generation portfolio—and swearing off any effort to offset gas consumption by investing in carbon capture technology.

Major Canadian Solar Firm Denies Reports of Forced Labour

A Canadian solar company is claiming that no Uyghurs are employed at its 30-MW solar farm in China’s Xinjiang region, nor are any members of the persecuted Muslim community being forced into labour anywhere along its solar supply chain. But human rights observers say that last assertion doesn’t stand up to the evidence.

Sweeping Biden Executive Orders Halt Fossil Leases, Boost Renewables, Stress Environmental Justice and Scientific Integrity

With a set of three sweeping executive orders Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden launched an abrupt shift from four years of climate denial and inaction. The orders included measures to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, increase its reliance on renewable energy, accelerate government renewables procurement and research, restore scientific integrity, and begin addressing the searing inequities and environmental justice issues that had been allowed to fester under his predecessor’s watch.

‘Net Negative’ Claims from Alberta Fossils Underscore Flaws with Carbon Capture

Two Alberta-based fossil companies are reporting that they’ve reached “net-negative” carbon emissions, thanks to carbon capture technology. But while the news sounds promising for CCS—which experts increasingly believe will be necessary to keep average global warming below 2°C—there are still concerns about how emissions reductions are calculated, and how CCS may reduce the incentive to actually reduce emissions.

New York Approves New Transmission Line, Calculates 39,000 MW of Renewables Demand by 2040

New York’s utility regulator has approved a new 93-mile, US$854-million transmission line that is just one part of a wider effort to decarbonize the state’s electricity grid by 2040.

Vulcan County, Alberta Sets Sights on 500-MW Wind Farm

The rural county in Alberta that brought Canada its biggest solar farm to date is at it again, with word this week that it is seeking regulatory approval for a 500-megawatt wind farm.

Hydro-Québec Lands 88-MW Green Hydrogen Deal with Thyssenkrupp

Provincial utility Hydro-Québec has signed a deal with a division of Essen, Germany-based industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp to build one of the world’s biggest green hydrogen plants, an 88-megawatt facility in Varennes that will produce 11,100 tonnes of the product per year.

Time to Move On from Keystone, Ambassador Says, as Biden, Trudeau Talk Climate Cooperation

With U.S. President Joe Biden making climate action a top priority for his new administration, and an analyst warning that the Keystone XL pipeline cancellation will stifle Alberta’s fossil industry for years, Canada’s U.S. ambassador is saying that it’s time to move on and focus on other opportunities in the bilateral relationship.

Bug-to-Bowl Companies Create Feed and Fuel from Fly Larvae

Hardy, easy to breed, and above all voracious, insect larvae are being recruited to the cause of bio-waste treatment, an innovation critical both to building a circular economy and lowering emissions.

Flurry of Biden Executive Orders Returns U.S. to Paris Agreement, Begins Reversing Trump Deregulatory Agenda

News reports Wednesday heralded the dawn of a new era in U.S. climate, energy, and environmental justice policy, as President Joe Biden marked his first day in office by signing a wave of executive orders to begin rolling back four years of deregulation under Donald Trump.

Global Energy Transition Investment Grows 9% in 2020, Hits Record $501 Billion Despite Pandemic

Global investment in the energy transition hit a record US$501.3 billion last year, posting a brisk 9% increase in spite of the severe restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data released this week by BloombergNEF.

Power Corp. Division Says $1-Billion Renewables Fund Will Be ‘First of Several’

A division of storied Quebec industrial conglomerate Power Corporation is launching a C$1-billion investment fund focused on solar and wind projects.

Wind power turbine

Alberta, B.C. Polls Show Strong Support for Net-Zero, Low Buy-In for LNG

More than two-thirds of Albertans support a 2050 target for net-zero emissions, and six in 10 British Columbians back clean energy over liquefied natural gas (LNG) development, according to separate research released last week by the Pembina Institute and Clean Energy Canada.

After Early Momentum, Cascadia Region Loses Focus on Climate Action

Political infighting, misinformation campaigns, and serial communication failures have dashed any hopes that the Cascadia region would take the lead in the climate fight and significantly reduce its emissions by the end of last year. Now, angry young people are asking the courts to force their leaders to do a better job, and fast.

Residents’ Court Claim Links Landslide to Site C Construction

VANCOUVER — Residents of a tiny community in northeastern British Columbia are suing the local and provincial governments over two slow-moving landslides they claim caused their property values to plummet.

84% of New U.S. Generating Capacity Will Deliver Fossil-Free Electricity This Year

Wind and solar will deliver 70% of new U.S. renewable energy capacity this year, compared to only 16% expected to come from natural gas, while battery storage will vault to 11% of the total, according to new data released last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Be Wary of Plans for Direct CO2 Removal, Greenpeace Warns Investors

While direct carbon removal (DCR) technologies like afforestation and direct air carbon capture are showing up in climate plans across the corporate world, it will be sharp emissions reductions, not DCR, that actually will keep a 1.5˚C climate target in view, Greenpeace UK warns in a new report.

New Exposé Reveals $171 Million in No-Bid Contracts on Site C Hydro Megaproject

Disgraced engineering giant SNC Lavalin and a former BC Hydro chief engineer were among the big winners when the provincial utility awarded C$171 million in sole-source, “no-bid” contracts for its controversial Site C hydropower megaproject, according to an exposé published by The Narwhal last week.

New Ministerial Mandate Letters Lay Out Federal Agenda on Climate, Green Recovery

While the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is still necessarily taking up most of the oxygen on Parliament Hill, climate action and a green recovery figure fairly prominently in a new batch of ministerial mandate letters released last Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

McCarthy: 2021 Could Be ‘Pivotal Year’ for Climate Action

With climate action and ambition accelerating toward the end of last year, in Canada and internationally, and COVID-19 vaccine distribution under way, 2021 could be a pivotal year in the fight to get the climate crisis under control, writes Shawn McCarthy, senior counsel at the Sussex Strategy Group, in a post last week for Policy Options.

Carbon emissions from a coal plant in Germany

Higher Emissions from Fossil Plants Could Drive Up Global Power Demand by 27 Gigawatts

In a global first, a study just published in the journal Environmental Research Letters concludes that reliance on fossil-fuelled power plants in a warming world could drive up global electricity demand by as much as 27,000 megawatts.

More Investment, More Renewable Options Needed to Hit Rapid Decarbonization Goals

Renewable energy investment is falling short of what’s needed to meet rapid decarbonization goals, and national implementation strategies often work to the disadvantage of small and medium-sized renewable energy producers, according to a think tank study released late last year.

Positive Feedback Loops Could Speed the Shift Off Carbon, Study Finds

Large-scale progressive change can be accomplished as much by “positive-sum” cooperation as by “zero-sum” thinking, argues a new study co-authored by the deputy director of the UK’s Cabinet Office COP26 Unit.

Africa Needs ‘Decarbonization Shock’ to Prevent Decade of New Fossil Fuel Investments

It will take a “decarbonization shock” to jolt utilities and governments in Africa into a quick transition to renewable energy this decade that avoids investments in fossil fuel projects that will lock the continent into a future of high-carbon development, warns a report this week in the journal Nature Energy.

China’s Solar Industry Faces Charges of Forced Labour

While the solar industry in China’s Xinjiang region touts itself as a model of clean, responsible economic growth, a New York Times exposé cites five companies that may be using members of the country’s persecuted Uighur ethnic minority as forced labour.

New Edmonton Liaison Unit Helps Smooth Retrofit Red Tape

Jurisdictions seeking to safely expedite permits for complex deep retrofits of multi-unit residential buildings would do well to follow the City of Edmonton’s example and establish client liaison units, says a new report.

wind turbine construction

Wind, Solar Industries Must Address Environmental Costs as Renewables Expand

Determined that there can be no “green halo” for renewables, solar and wind stakeholders in the United States are tackling the reality that their “green” and “clean” technologies carry their own environmental costs—and that those costs that must be addressed head-on, and not left for someone else to pay.

Battery Packs Hit ‘Historic Milestone’ with Record-Low Price Below $100/kWh

Lithium-ion battery pack prices dipped below the milestone of US$100 per kilowatt-hour in 2020, and the average price of batteries plummeted 89% in a decade to land at $137/kWh, according to a year-end survey released in mid-December by Bloomberg NEF, formerly Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Federal Clean Fuel Standard Aims for 21-Megatonne Emissions Cut by 2030

Environment and Climate Change Canada has published draft rules for a new Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) that it says would focus primarily on fossil refineries, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from liquid fuels by nearly 21 million tonnes by 2030, and drive up the cost of a litre of gasoline by up to 11¢.

New Congressional Funding, Tax Credit Extensions Create ‘Enabling Conditions for Decarbonization’

From solar and wind tax credits, to reductions in climate-busting hydrofluorocarbons, to financial support for battery storage, microgrids, combined heat and power, and carbon capture, the US$900-billion pandemic relief package adopted by the U.S. Congress late last month is being hailed as the most substantial federal investment and one of the biggest victories for climate action in a decade.

Ottawa Releases Flurry of New Announcements on Tree Planting, Hydrogen, Clean Fuels, SMRs

The Trudeau government is continuing its flurry of year-end policy moves on climate change and energy, with announcements earlier this week on hydrogen strategy and tree planting and more news expected today on a narrowed Clean Fuel Standard and small modular nuclear reactors.

‘Damn It Feels Good to Win’: Historic Diversity, Serious Climate Expertise as Biden Cabinet Takes Shape

As U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet and senior White House appointments take shape, a picture is emerging of an administration that will be keenly focused on climate action and environmental justice—not only in the key portfolios traditionally responsible for environment and natural resources, but in important related areas from treasury to health, from transportation to trade.

In Conversation: World Energy Outlook’s Role is to Reflect Current Policy Plans, Push Decision-Makers to Do More, IEA’s Wanner Says

Brent Wanner is Power Sector Modelling Lead with the team that produces the annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) for the International Energy Agency. In this feature interview, he talks about the path to 1.5°C, the breakaway growth potential in renewable energy, and why the WEO’s purpose is to model the climate implications of current government policies and plans as a way to nudge policy-makers toward more ambitious climate action.

U.S. Solar Sees Record Expansion in 2020

Neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor policy uncertainty held U.S. utility-scale solar back in 2020, with a record year on track to see more than 19 gigawatts of new capacity installed—enough to power 3.6 million homes.

Quebec E-Bus Builder Lion Electric Signs $500-Million Merger Deal, Enters NY Stock Exchange

Saint-Jérôme, Quebec-based electric bus and truck manufacturer Lion Electric announced what one industry newsletter calls a “power move on the competition” late last month, signing a US$500-million merger deal that will win it a coveted listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

With $170/Tonne Carbon Price, $15B in New Spending, Canada’s 2030 Carbon Target Still Falls Far Short

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled an updated national climate plan Friday that includes a $170-per-tonne carbon price in 2030, C$15 billion in new climate spending, a more modest Clean Fuel Standard, and a slight increase in the country’s 2030 carbon reduction goal—just barely enough to keep the government’s promise to boost its ambition beyond the 30% target originally adopted by the Stephen Harper government in 2015.

Paris Agreement Pushes Low-Carbon Solutions to Mass-Market Appeal This Decade, Analysts Conclude

While global greenhouse gas emissions have risen from 53 to 55 billion tonnes per year since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, low-carbon solutions are poised for mass-market appeal in sectors representing 70% of emissions by 2030, creating more than 35 million net new jobs along the way, according to an analysis released last week by SYSTEMIQ.

Lax COVID-19 Safety at B.C. Man Camps Puts Indigenous Communities at Risk

WorkSafe BC documents have revealed shocking carelessness with worker protections in the province’s northern “man camps.” And as COVID-19 cases continue to mount in the region, more than 180 front-line health workers have signed an open letter urging the immediate closure of camps on Indigenous territory.

$875M Quebec Biofuel Project Will Process Non-Recyclable Waste, Prevent Methane Emissions

Quebec and federal officials announced an investment Tuesday in a biofuel production facility that will use non-recyclable residual materials, diverting those items from landfills while reducing greenhouse gases in the province.

‘Checking the Box’ on Environmental Justice Produces $8-Billion Liability for Virginia Utility Giant

Callous disregard for community health has left a Virginia utility giant on the hook for a US$8-billion cancelled pipeline. And more of the same lies ahead for fossil interests as citizens, courts, and legislators increasingly say to no to projects that bode ill for people and climate.

Alberta Power Producer Announces 2023 Coal Phaseout as Province Pushes Rocky Mountain Mining Leases

Alberta took one step forward and one step back on the road to phasing out coal, with independent power producer Capital Power announcing it was speeding up its shift to coal-free electricity but the province opening up new mining leases across nearly 2,000 hectares on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

Energy Efficiency Improvements Stall Out as COVID-19 Roils National Economies

The International Energy Agency is blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for dragging annual improvements in energy efficiency down to their lowest pace since 2010, in a report that urges governments to pick up the pace on efforts to reduce global primary energy intensity.

Climate Crisis will Force Gulf Petro-States to Embrace Renewables, Expert Review Concludes

Member petro-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Middle East can—and must—accelerate their adoption of renewable energy if they are to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, say a team of experts from the region.

Overnight Demise of Film Cameras Could Predict Future of Fossil Fuels, Investment Writer Says

Look no farther than the demise of film cameras from 1995 to 2007—and the subsequent crash of the digital cameras that briefly replaced them—as evidence that the clean energy “crossover” will be the investment story of the year in 2021, Australian business writer Ryan Dinse advises in a post published late last month.

Boris Johnson

BREAKING: UK Declares 68% Carbon Reduction Target for 2030 After Analyst Warns to Watch the Fine Print

The United Kingdom will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 68% from 1990 levels by 2030, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today, a plan he said would put the country on track for net-zero emissions by 2050 and represent the fastest rate of GHG reductions of any major economy.

Don’t Let Fossil-Derived Hydrogen Undermine New Federal Strategy, Climate Hawks Urge

The Canadian government has a chance to tap into renewably-produced hydrogen as a way to decarbonize key sectors of the economy, but not if it allows that potential to be “undermined by a focus on fossil fuel-derived hydrogen,” a list of 27 environmental organizations and other non-profits warned last week in a letter to Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and three of his cabinet colleagues.

Ontario Making Little or No Progress on GHG Reduction Strategy, New Report Concludes

The Doug Ford government in Ontario has made little or no progress on key elements of its 2030 climate action plan, putting the province’s greenhouse gas emissions on track to increase rather than falling, Environmental Defence warns in a new report this week.

BREAKING: Countries’ Fossil Extraction Plans Drive Emissions Far Past 1.5°C Limit

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a “potential turning point” in global fossil fuel production, countries will drive greenhouse gas emissions far beyond a 1.5°C limit on average warming if their published plans to increase coal, oil, and gas extraction come to pass, according to the 2020 Production Gap Report issued this morning by five major international agencies.

Fiscal Update Delivers ‘Downpayment’, Falls Short of Full Funding for Green Recovery

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is receiving mixed reviews for the green components of a Fall Economic Statement that includes $5,000 grants to help households fund energy retrofits, a $150-million boost for zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, nearly $4 billion over 10 years for a list of nature-based climate solutions, and a promise of permanent funding for public transit systems.

Home Retrofit Grants Won’t Deliver the Energy Savings the Climate Crisis Demands, Analysts Warn

Impatience is building among policy analysts behind the push for mass, deep energy retrofits as a cornerstone of Canada’s post-pandemic green recovery, after this week’s Fall Economic Statement from Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland came up with just a fraction of the funding and none of the design and structure that a comprehensive program would require.

Saskatoon Company Strikes ‘Gusher’ with Groundbreaking Geothermal Project

In a global first, a Saskatoon-based geothermal company has successfully drilled and fracked a 90-degree horizontal well, delivering enough heat to supply electricity to 3,000 homes. And it did so thanks to the expertise of over 100 oilfield technicians—a switch that is offering hope to many such workers facing unemployment as fossil fortunes tank.

Small Modular Reactors ‘Very Inappropriate for Remote Locations’, CELA Warns

It’s a potentially dangerous mistake to pitch small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) as a potential electricity source or remote Northern communities, according to one of the 30 local, regional, and national public interest organizations that have come out against federal financial support for the technology.

Report: Just Transition to Renewable Energy Requires Mining Industry Reform

The coming energy transition may be carbon-free, but it is still very much dependent on mining—and that has experts warning that stringent regulation is needed to ensure that the shift to renewable energy is truly sustainable. MiningWatch Canada has released some recommendations on how to make it happen.

The Rise of SWB: Seba Says Solar, Wind, Batteries Can Deliver 100% RE by 2030, Make New Fossil Investment Irrational

An all-renewable electricity system is “both physically possible and economically affordable by 2030,” according to a new report from the RethinkX think tank, write co-founder Tony Seba and research fellow Adam Dorr in an early November post for Utility Dive.

UK Green Plan Funds ‘Long-Shot’ Small Modular Reactors but Emphasizes Offshore Wind

News that two more reactors in the United Kingdom are to shut down on safety grounds earlier than planned has capped a depressing month for nuclear power in Europe.

Yellen Expected to Bring Climate Concerns to New Role as U.S. Treasury Secretary

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as treasury secretary is being interpreted as the latest sign the new administration is planning a serious response to the climate crisis.

Ottawa’s Greening of Government Plan Foresees Building Retrofits, 80% Hybrid/Electric Fleet by 2030

Building retrofits, more telecommuting, and a fleet consisting of 80% hybrid and electric vehicles by 2030 are among the highlights of a greening of government strategy unveiled yesterday by Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos.

Opinion: An Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable Electricity Future for Atlantic Canada is Renewable

Wind and solar are the cheapest forms of electricity on Earth, far cheaper than coal, nuclear, or natural gas. When paired with energy storage technologies and regional hydropower networks, they can deliver reliable power while reducing utility bills for ratepayers who most need the savings, say the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the Ecology Action Centre.

Kerry Named White House Climate ‘Czar’ as Analysis Shows U.S. Could Cut Emissions 38-54% by 2030

Paris Agreement architect John Kerry was appointed White House climate “czar”, a half-dozen other senior appointments signalled stability and continuity, and a few glass ceilings were shattered as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced nominees for senior administration positions Monday.

With Fossils Crashing, Renewables Surging, Alberta and Saskatchewan Need a New Narrative

Across nearly a dozen pieces of news and analysis over the last week, a consistent theme is emerging: Canada’s fossil sector crash is accelerating, the renewable energy industries are beginning to surge, and oil-producing provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan need a whole new narrative if they’re going to catch up, keep up, and thrive in an emerging, low-carbon world.

Climate-Focused Green Banks Could Spur Sustainable Cities, Just Recovery

In an effort to help cities balance climate action with pandemic recovery, C40 Cities has released a guide to establishing local green banks as an equitable, resilient, and sustainable path to achieving both goals.

China’s Carbon Neutral Plan Could Push Belt and Road Initiative Toward ‘Cleaner Growth’

China’s landmark commitment to domestic carbon neutrality could help jump-start a “cleaner growth pathway” for countries participating in the country’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, international climate advocate Han Chen writes in a recent post for China Dialogue.

Researchers See Carbon Reduction Potential in Producing Bioenergy from Switchgrass

The right approach to bioenergy production using the right kind of feedstock can play a role in reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change, a cross-border research team concludes in a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In Conversation: Local Climate Action Depends on Reaching Out to a Wider Community, Moffatt Says

Scott Moffatt has been an Ottawa city councillor since 2010 and became chair of the city’s Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management in 2018. In this feature interview, he talks about what it took to get the city’s Energy Evolution decarbonization strategy adopted by a disparate group of councillors, and how to turn ideas into action.

B.C. Leads, Alberta and Ontario Imperil National Results in Efficiency Canada’s Latest Provincial Scorecard

British Columbia maintained its lead as Canada’s top jurisdiction for energy efficiency in 2019, Saskatchewan came in last for a second year running, Prince Edward Island distinguished itself as most-improved province, and program cuts in Alberta and Ontario emerged as a serious threat, as Efficiency Canada released its second annual scorecard of provincial efficiency programs.

Ørsted, U.S. Building Trades Union Form Training Partnership for Offshore Wind

Offshore wind giant Ørsted and North America’s Building Trades Union (NABTU) have arrived at a deal to train a construction work force for the new projects the Danish company expects to build along the East Coast of the United States.

G20 Survey Finds Canada’s Renewables Growth Stagnating, Fossils at 76% of Total Energy

While Canada has the second-largest share of renewable energy in its electricity mix, it was one of only four that didn’t have plans to increase renewables output in 2020, even as its greenhouse gas emissions soared far above its fair share of a 2030 carbon budget, according to the latest edition of the Climate Transparency Report released earlier this week.

Front-Line Communities Are Driving Force for Biden’s Climate Transformation, Salazar and Goloff Say

Adrien Salazar is Senior Campaign Strategist for Climate Equity at Dēmos, a U.S. racial and economic justice policy organization. Ben Goloff is Senior Climate Campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. In this feature interview, they talk about what the Biden-Harris administration can get done on climate, energy, and environmental justice, and how front-line communities across the United States put them in a position to make a difference.

‘Scathing’ Auditor General’s Report Shows Ontario At Risk of Missing 2030 Carbon Targets

The Doug Ford government’s failure to make greenhouse gas reductions a “cross-government priority” has placed it at risk of missing its 2030 carbon targets, and Ontario has reached “surprising” levels of non-compliance with a decades-old requirement to consult the public on environmentally significant projects, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk warned Wednesday in her annual review of the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights.

Midwestern U.S. Mayors Launch $60-Billion Energy Transition Blueprint

Mayors in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia recently unveiled a US$60-billion Marshall Plan for Middle America, intended to accelerate a compassionate, equitable, just, and sustainable transition away from fossil fuels.

Explainer: Bloomberg Analysis Highlights Inefficiency of Fossil Fuels

The argument that overhauling the energy system is too daunting is easily undercut by the fact electrification can offer efficiencies in excess of 100%—a figure that makes fossil fuel combustion look spectacularly inefficient. And throwing more light on this under-reported comparison could make the carbon-free transition a whole lot more saleable, says a UK-based energy analyst.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Governor Yanks Line 5 Pipeline Easement, Citing Enbridge Violations

Citing repeated and routine refusals by Calgary-based Enbridge to address safety concerns surrounding the 6.4-kilometre Straits of Mackinac section of its Line 5 pipeline, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has terminated the easement that allowed the submarine pipeline to operate.

Quebec Green Plan Falls Far Short of 2030 Carbon Target, Analysts Say

The Quebec government may have nabbed some early headlines by tipping the centrepiece of its Green Economy Plan, a 2035 phaseout of internal combustion vehicle sales. But once the full strategy was released Monday, climate analysts and campaigners quickly concluded that it won’t meet the province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Safety Issues, Cost Overruns Mean It’s Time to Cancel Site C Megadam, Dogwood Says

With its price nearly doubling, construction deadlines slipping, and serious geological challenges on the ground, BC Hydro’s plan to complete the Site C megadam on the Peace River may be slipping away, Dogwood B.C. warns in a recent blog post.

Ørsted, BP to Launch Hydrogen Partnership with 50-MW Electrolyzer in Germany

Offshore wind giant Ørsted and colossal fossil BP have sealed a deal to build a 50-megawatt electrolyzer in northern Germany, in what the two companies see as a first step in a broader partnership to produce green hydrogen.

Early Signs Show Biden Setting Up to Deliver on Bold Climate Action Agenda

It’s still the earliest of early days in the Biden administration’s transition process, with countless decisions to be made, cabinet appointments to be vetted, and senior staff to be recruited. But the news reports so far are coming to an astonishing consensus: that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris meant it when they declared climate action a priority, and they seem determined to deliver on the promise.

Vertical-Axis Wind Design Could Replace Diesel on Island Grids, Offer Quieter Turbine for Cities

A designer in South Korea has come up with a prototype for a new, 12-storey vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) that could be located in urban areas and deliver up to four times as much power as a standard, ground-mounted wind machine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Hanukkah_Party

Analysts Expect Fast Action on Infrastructure, Possible White House ‘Climate Czar’ as Biden-Harris Priorities Take Shape

Rolling back environmental deregulation, investing in green economic stimulus, restoring trust in science, and possible appointment of a White House “climate czar” are expected to be key priorities for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden after he’s sworn in January 20, sparking an equal and opposite reversal after the four years of deep damage caused by a soon-to-depart Donald Trump.

IEA Sees Global Solar and Wind Capacity Doubling, Outstripping Gas and Coal by 2025

Global solar and wind capacity is on track to double over the next five years and outstrip both coal and gas, after continuing to surge in spite of the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports in its annual renewable energy update issued this week.

China’s Solar Surge Leads to Glass Shortage

With glass supplies running short and prices correspondingly spiking, Chinese solar manufacturers are appealing to Beijing to approve new glass factories—an industry that hit the brakes in 2018 when the country banned further expansion due to overcapacity concerns.

President-Elect Biden Brings ‘Clear Climate Mandate’ to White House

Even with Democrats unlikely to hold majority control of the U.S. Senate during the first two years of his administration, President-Elect Joe Biden enters the White House with a clear mandate for climate action and a toolbox of options for delivering faster, deeper carbon cuts, according to multiple analyses in the wake of a decisive election win over Donald Trump.

Enbridge Gets Mixed Reviews After Setting 2050 Net-Zero Target

Enbridge Inc. is getting mixed reviews after becoming the biggest fossil in North America to set sights on net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, beginning with a 2030 target to reduce the emissions intensity of its operations by 35%.

Savings from Retrofits, Rooftop Solar Help Boost Teacher Pay at Arkansas School

If every public school in the United States went 100% solar, the resulting emissions reductions would be equal to shuttering 18 coal-fired power plants. And, as one Arkansas school district recently proved, the money saved on energy costs could translate into higher pay for teachers.

Biden-Harris Campaign Launches BuildBackBetter. com Transition Team Site

With the final ballots still being counted in five key states, but analysts and a desperate-sounding Donald Trump signalling the imminent end of the U.S. election campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris unveiled BuildBackBetter. com as the online address for the transition leading up to their inauguration January 20.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_heat

Colorado Utility to Retire Coal-Fired Power Plant 16 Years Early, Cut Emissions 90% by 2030

The Platte River Power Authority in Colorado faces accusations that it is watering down its carbon reduction plan after moving to close a coal-fired power plant 16 years early and cut its emissions 90% from 2005 levels by 2030—because an earlier commitment called for a 100% carbon reduction.

No Need to ‘Live Through Darkness’: Award Honoree Fights for Energy Equity

Driven by her personal experience with energy poverty, a recent Energy News Network 40 Under 40 honoree is working hard as a senior policy associate at a U.S. community solar developer to ensure that ethnicity, language barriers, and income do not bar homeowners from accessing renewable energy.

Regulator Raises ‘Pointed Questions’ about Site C as Project Threatens Prime Farmland

A provincial regulator has filed a list of 75, often sharply-worded questions with BC Hydro, aiming to get to the bottom of the stability risks the utility is now reporting with its multi-billion-dollar Site C hydropower project.

Biden Win, Pandemic Economy Could End Keystone XL as Trudeau, O’Regan Pledge Pipeline Support

The Keystone XL pipeline may be coming to the end of a very long road, ultimately brought down by the combination of a Joe Biden presidency and crashing global oil demand—even if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan are still standing beside Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to support the controversial project.

Philippines Puts Brakes on Coal Power Development, Boosts Geothermal

The Philippines’ just-announced temporary moratorium on new coal plants is being met with calls to go further, while its move to loosen restrictions on foreign ownership in order to more easily develop its geothermal potential is stirring complaints from groups that want to see the resource tapped by local companies.

Industry and Nature Make Peace at Former Home of North America’s Largest Coal Plant

This community story was originally posted in text and video by Charged Up, a David Suzuki Foundation program on empowering communities across Canada with renewable energy.

Democrats Explore How Biden Climate Plan Would Navigate a Hostile U.S. Senate

With a bitter presidential campaign in the United States winding down to its last 100 or so hours, and Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris holding a steady lead in opinion polls, U.S. analysts are starting to ponder how much the new administration will be able to get done on climate policy once it takes office—and how they’ll go about it.

Quick Shift to 100% Renewables Could Slash U.S. Emissions, Save Households $2,500 Per Year

An aggressive shift to 100% renewable energy could produce up to US$321 billion for American ratepayers, or an average $2,500 per household per year, while slashing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis by Rewiring America.

New Solar, Wind Now Cheaper than Existing U.S. Coal and Gas Plants, Analysis Shows

Utility-scale solar and wind now deliver the cheapest electricity in the United States, even undercutting the cost of running an existing coal or gas plant, concludes the latest in a series of annual assessments by finance and asset management firm Lazard.

Emerging Geothermal Technologies Could Power Humanity ‘for Generations’

Long the “perpetual also-ran of renewable energy,” geothermal could be about to have its day, provided it solves a number of engineering challenges and one big PR problem, writes Vox’s David Roberts.

Analysts See Peril and Promise in Biden’s Support for Transition Off Oil

A wave of alarmed and hopeful commentary has been building since the U.S. presidential debate last Thursday evening, when Democratic candidate Joe Biden acknowledged that his country will have make the transition off oil.

Japan’s Plan for Carbon Neutrality by 2050 Leans Into ‘High-Efficiency’ Coal, CCS, Nuclear

“High-efficiency” coal plants, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear generation are cornerstones of the highly-touted plan for carbon neutrality by 2050 that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced earlier today in his first major speech to the national parliament, the Diet, since taking office last month.

Renewables Jobs Provide Lifeline for Laid-Off U.S. Fossil Workers

The renewable energy industries are providing a lifeline for oil and gas workers in the United States who’ve been laid off since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, according to a recent analysis by consultants at Deloitte.

Net-Zero Commitment Could Bring Australia $63 Billion in New Investment by 2025

A commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 from Australia’s notoriously coal-friendly government would unlock A$63 billion in new investment over the next five years and open up carbon farming as a major new opportunity, according to new analysis commissioned by a group of institutional investors that deliberately looks beyond the even bigger opportunities in renewable energy.

Swiss Researchers Develop New Material for Wearable Solar Collector

Swiss researchers are getting excited about a polymer that could allow them to incorporate a “flexible solar concentrator” in textile fibres, making it possible to charge personal electronic devices from the clothes their owners wear.

Hastings-Simon: Alberta Government Must Wake up to ‘Spectacular’ Drop in Solar Power Costs

Solar’s recent coronation by the International Energy Agency as the “king” of global electricity markets is a literal power shift that bodes ill for Alberta’s oilpatch, says one of the province’s top energy policy experts.

Global Hydrogen Race Will Be Only Won by Cleanest Producers, Smith and Petrevan Predict

As Canada moves to stake its claim in the burgeoning hydrogen fuel market—a claim that includes Alberta’s recent bet on “blue hydrogen”—policy experts are warning that it will be only the cleanest hydrogen that takes the prize in a zero-carbon world.

Ottawa City Plan Sets Sights on Zero Emissions, 4.4 GW of New Renewables by 2050

The City of Ottawa has released a long-awaited energy transition plan that has it eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions, phasing out all fossil fuel use, shifting all heating and transportation to electricity or other zero-emission options, and adding 4.4 gigawatts of new solar and wind capacity by 2050.

Germany’s City Utilities Help Boost Clean Energy Revolution

Germany’s network of city utilities (stadtwerke) has moved to the forefront of the clean energy revolution, according to an urban planner based in Berlin, helping to drive the country’s transition off fossil fuels and often moving into an array of local services beyond energy.

Small Island States Speed Up the Shift from Imported Fossils to Local Solar, Wind

Small island states are working to accelerate the shift from imported fossil fuels to their own renewable energy resources, both to protect themselves from unpredictable global prices for oil and gas and to take a lead in addressing a climate crisis that is already endangering their safety—and in some cases, their very existence as countries.

New Carbon Regulations Give International Shipping a Free Pass Until 2030

International shipping companies are on track to get a free pass on their greenhouse gas emissions for the rest of this decade under what’s being called a “compromise” proposal that postpones energy efficiency requirement for marine vessels until 2030.

Western Australia Greets 26-GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub as Job Creator, ‘Major Contributor’ to Carbon Reductions

The state government in Western Australia has issued planning approvals for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, a vast solar, wind, and green hydrogen production complex whose backers have increased their long-term production target to 26 gigawatts.

Checkerboard Design More Than Doubles Solar Cell Light Absorption

Researchers at the University of York and NOVA University of Lisbon have come up with a new checkerboard design that could more than double the amount of light a solar panel can absorb.

Solar the ‘New King of Electricity’, Trans Mountain at Risk as IEA Analysis Sinks In

An acknowledgement that solar now delivers the “cheapest electricity in history” and a new source of uncertainty for Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion are two of the takeaways emerging from the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2020—amid criticism that the release still falls short of the analysis that would guide governments and investors to a 1.5°C future.

Study Urges Fast Transition Off Fossil Fuels for Asia’s Electricity Grids

It’s time for Asia—the region that British Columbia and Alberta are counting on as a future market for oil and gas exports—to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and risk of stranded assets by embracing low-cost renewable energy options, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concludes in a new report.

Sacramento Utility Moves to Measure Energy Efficiency by Avoided Carbon Emissions

The publicly-owned utility in the California capital of Sacramento is shifting the focus of its energy efficiency programs by adopting a metric that emphasizes the carbon dioxide emissions the programs avoid, rather than the electricity consumption they eliminate.

Analysis: Alberta Natural Gas Plan Has Kenney Venturing Boldly Backwards

The Jason Kenney government in Alberta is pitching hydrogen, plastics recycling, and even geothermal energy as elements of an economic diversification strategy that leans heavily on natural gas to create tens of thousands of jobs and reboot the province’s sagging economy.

‘Silver Bullet’ Hopes Shouldn’t Distract from Today’s Renewable Energy Solutions, Experts Say

Faced with a massive wave of hype for a new generation of “silver bullet” climate solutions, from green hydrogen to carbon capture to (relatively) small nuclear reactors, experts are pointing back to the established technologies that can already deliver on a decarbonization agenda while bringing solid financial returns to investors.

Wildfire Smoke Cuts Into California Solar Production

Severe smoke from the wildfires that have been sweeping parts of California reduced power output from the state’s utility-scale solar installations by 13% in the first two weeks of September, even after factoring in a significant gain in solar capacity compared to the previous year.

University of Calgary Sees Plummeting Enrolment for Oil and Gas Sciences

University of Calgary undergrads are fleeing en masse from oil and gas-friendly majors as job security in the industry plummets. And renewable energy studies are picking up the slack.

Exxon Projections Show Massive Emissions Increase as Quarterly Financial Losses Mount

ExxonMobil may be plotting to increase its already enormous annual greenhouse gas emissions by 17% over the next five years, as much as the entire nation of Greece, according to an internal assessment of the company’s US$210-billion investment strategy obtained by Bloomberg Green.

Innu Nation Files $4-Billion Compensation Claim for Churchill Falls Hydropower Project

The Innu Nation of Labrador has filed a C$4-billion court claim against Hydro-Québec and Churchill Falls Corporation, saying their culture and way of life have been devastated by construction of the 5,428-megawatt Churchill Falls hydropower project beginning in 1967.

TD Bank Subsidiary Launches Canada’s Biggest Grid Storage Project in Alberta

A Toronto-Dominion Bank subsidiary is planning a 60-megawatt battery storage project, Canada’s biggest to date, using arrays of Tesla batteries to store electricity and help balance and stabilize the Alberta power grid as it adds more renewable power.

Analysts See ‘Green’ Hydrogen Costing Less than Fossil-Sourced Product within a Decade

While the definition of “clean” or “green” hydrogen is still distinctly fuzzy, the truly green variety produced from wind- or solar-generated electricity could become the cheapest form within a decade, far sooner than analysts previously expected.

Majority of UK Fossil Workers Would Welcome a Shift to Renewables, Offshore Wind

Just over four-fifths of offshore oil workers in the United Kingdom would consider leaving the industry, more than half would be interested in working in renewable energy or offshore wind, but 91% had never heard the term “just transition”, according to survey results released last week by Platform London, Friends of the Earth Scotland, and Greenpeace UK.

New Floating Solar + Hydro Combo Could Meet Nearly Half of Global Power Demand

Combining solar power with hydroelectricity in floating reservoirs could meet nearly 50% of global electricity demand, says a new study being described as “potentially market-making.”

Climate Plan, Coalition Tensions Put Denmark’s 70% Emissions Cut at Risk

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has thrown her country’s 2030 emissions reduction target of 70% into doubt, and may have jeopardized her governing coalition, with a climate plan that falls short of coalition partners’ expectations and steps away from past promises to tax pollution.

Chinese Chemical Plants Begin Capturing Nitrous Oxide, a Super-Pollutant 300 Times More Potent than CO2

An industrial gas company in China has taken a “noteworthy step” to capture and reuse nitrous oxide, a climate pollutant that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, InsideClimate News reports.

Green Hydrogen Could Decarbonize Steel Production by 2050 in ‘Multi-Billion-Dollar Opportunity’

The global steel industry is on the verge of a transformative, multi-billion-dollar opportunity, with plummeting renewable energy costs and green hydrogen pointing to a possible pathway to completely decarbonize an extremely energy-intensive industry by 2050, writes Rocky Mountain Institute principal Thomas Koch Blank in a recent blog post.

Infrastructure Bank to Pour $6 Billion into Clean Grid, Building Retrofits, Zero-Emission Buses

Climate and energy analysts are mostly praising a new two- to three-year, C$10-billion “growth plan” that includes $2.5 billion for clean power and storage, $2 billion for building energy retrofits, $2 billion to extend broadband access to underserved communities, $1.5 billion for zero-emission buses, and $1.5 billion for agriculture infrastructure, unveiled yesterday by the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Utility Boss Sees India Phasing Out 60 GW of Coal Capacity, Replacing 40 GW with Newer Coal Plants

The head of Mumbai-based utility company Tata Power is calling on the government of India to phase out nearly 500 older coal plants that have been in operation for 25 or 30 years—but only sees about one-third of the demand that opens up being met by renewable sources of electricity.

Renewables Employed 11.5 Million in 2019, Could Approach 30 Million by 2030, IRENA Reports

Renewable energy created 11.5 million jobs around the world in 2019, up from 11 million in 2018, according to the latest in a series of annual reviews released this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

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In Conversation: Canadian Pension Managers Must Divest Fossil Fuels, Catch Up with the Shift Off Carbon, Scott Says

Adam Scott is director of Shift:Action, an organization that engages with Canadian pension funds on climate accountability and risk. In this interview, he talks about the ideologies that still drive fossil fuel investment, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board’s adventures in Colorado, and what it takes to make pensions a fascinating topic.

Sweden, Norway Take a Lead in EU’s Swing to Renewable Energy

Nordic countries are helping to lead on the European Union’s commitment to source 30% of its energy from renewables by 2030, thanks to renewable-driven heating systems and smart energy developments.

BREAKING: ‘First Blueprint’ Lays Out China’s Path to Carbon Neutrality

China would rely on a massive increase in solar, nuclear, and wind capacity while cutting its coal consumption 96% between 2025 and 2060 under a “first blueprint” for fulfilling the carbon neutrality target unveiled by President Xi Jinping at last week’s United Nations General Assembly.

Ottawa Needs Wide-Ranging Programs to Match Big-Picture Throne Speech, Torrie Says

Ralph Torrie is a senior associate with the Sustainability Solutions Group, partner in Torrie Smith Associates, and one of Canada’s leading energy and carbon modellers. He helped design and lead a series of green recovery webinars and publications that laid some of the groundwork for last week’s Throne Speech. In this interview, he talks about what the speech got right, the tough path to 1.5°C, and what’s still needed to get Canada’s transition off carbon on track.

California Bans New Internal Combustion Car Sales After 2035

The U.S. state that likes to style itself the world’s fifth-largest economy will ban all sales of new gasoline-powered cars after 2035 under an executive order signed last week by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

World Nuclear Industry Loses Ground to Cheap Renewables as Canada Considers Small Modular Reactors

The world nuclear industry “continues to be in stasis,” with power plants shutting down at a faster rate in western Europe and the United States, the number of operating reactor units at a 30-year low, and the few new construction projects running into “catastrophic cost overruns and schedule slippages,” according to the latest edition of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), released last week.

Climate Hawk Declares ‘Most Progressive Throne Speech in a Generation’ as Ottawa Pledges Tougher Emission Targets, Links Cleantech to Million-Job Strategy

Climate change moved to the centre of Canada’s million-job recovery strategy, the Trudeau government pledged immediate action on more ambitious carbon reduction targets, neither the fossil nor the nuclear industry rated a single explicit mention, and a government-appointed senator was more deeply critical than many of the country’s leading campaign organizations as Governor General Julie Payette read a much-anticipated Speech from the Throne Wednesday afternoon.

The Interview: After a ‘Bold’ Throne Speech, the Details Come Next, St-Pierre Says

Éric St-Pierre is Executive Director of the Trottier Family Foundation in Montreal. He recently coordinated an opinion piece from a dozen Canadian philanthropic foundations that set expectations for the Throne Speech and a green recovery. In this interview, he talks about the highlights and gaps in the speech, the next steps for the government, and the hard work ahead for the climate community.

Alberta Surges, Ontario Fades as Canada’s Leading Jurisdiction for Wind, Solar

Alberta is set to surpass Ontario as Canada’s leading jurisdiction for utility-scale wind and solar, with 83% of the country’s new installations over the next five years, according to a new analysis by Oslo-based Rystad Energy.

Tech Giant Google Pledges Carbon-Free Operations by 2030

Tech behemoth Google is promising to run all its operations on carbon-free electricity by 2030, and says it has bought enough carbon offsets to balance all its emissions since it began operations in 1998.

New Green Hydrogen Project Could Transform UK’s Heavy Transport System

The UK’s buses, ferries, and trains could be swapping diesel fuel for green hydrogen as early as 2022.

GM, Ford, Toyota Unveil Plans for Electric, Hydrogen Trucks

Three different automakers are unveiling new plans to introduce electric pick-up trucks, or to use the vehicles as emissions-free “power plants” by equipping them with hydrogen fuel cells.

Energy Retrofits, Green Grids, ZEVs Lead Recommendations from Resilient Recovery Task Force

A $27-billion energy retrofit program, stepped-up investment in green electricity, and building an “industrial ecosystem” for zero-emission vehicles are lead elements of a five-year, $55.4-billion green investment program released Wednesday by the 15-member Task Force for a Resilient Recovery.

67% of Low-Income U.S. Households Face High Energy Burden

Two out of three low-income households in the United States face disproportionately steep energy bills, says a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

BP Plans ‘Five-Year Sprint’ to Deploy 20 GW of Renewables by 2025

Colossal fossil BP is launching what Bloomberg Green calls a “five-year sprint” to increase its renewable energy portfolio eight-fold, or by 20 gigawatts, by 2025.

Exclusive: NDP Riding Presidents Push Singh, 150 MPs and Staffers Talk Green Recovery, as Throne Speech Looms

The federal New Democratic Party leadership is taking grassroot fire for failing to use its position in a minority parliament to press the Trudeau government for tougher green recovery measures in its hotly-anticipated Speech from the Throne September 23.

EU Targets 55% Emissions Cut by 2030, but Real Progress Hinges on U.S. Election Result

Europe is on track to increase its 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target from 40 to 55% after the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the continent’s “biggest and most influential political faction”, threw its support behind an updated EU-wide goal.

BP Says Oil Demand Will Never Recover as OPEC, IEA Predict Continuing Losses Due to COVID

The global fossil industry is facing a parade of bad news this week, with colossal fossil BP concluding that global oil demand has already peaked, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) predicting a steeper demand drop due to the slow recovery from the pandemic, and the International Energy Agency warning that “the path ahead is treacherous”.

Ontario’s Ford Government Guts Environmental Protections, Undermines Health Record

While Ontario’s Ford government has proven to be an able defender of health in the face of COVID-19, it continues to be a profound threat to the environment, gutting established protections, hobbling climate action at every opportunity and, most recently, hamstringing the province’s environmental review process.

New Solar+Storage Megaproject a ‘Game Changer’ for Kansas Utilities

A massive proposed solar+storage project in Kansas City could be a “game-changer” that shuts down claims that fossil fuels are still needed as a backstop for when the sun doesn’t shine.

Opinion: Now Is the Perfect Moment to Decarbonize Global Trade

International freight transport—whether by air, land, or sea—still relies overwhelmingly on fossil fuels, accounting for 30% of transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions and more than 7% of all global emissions. Experts agree that freight, and international trade more broadly, must be decarbonized if we expect to hit the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. With the world’s freight carriers deeply shaken and supply chains upturned by the COVID-19 pandemic, now is exactly the right time to begin reshaping it.

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Fossils Troll for Relief as Throne Speech Focus Veers Toward Housing, Income Support

With the latest news and commentary out of Ottawa pointing to housing, employment insurance reform, and long-term care as main focal points for the September 23 Speech from the Throne, the fossil industry is pushing the Trudeau government for more bailout dollars and regulatory delays as part of the economic recovery from the pandemic.

UK Citizen Climate Assembly Calls for ‘Fair’ Green Recovery

A ban on SUVs, a frequent flyer tax, carbon emissions labelling, and protections for those most exposed in the push to net zero were among the core recommendations when the UK’s citizen-led Climate Assembly issued its final report last week.

Analysts Foresee Big Boom in Asia’s Renewable Energy Generating Capacity

Analysts are predicting a massive renewable energy boom across the Asia Pacific region over the next decade, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) anticipating a 250% increase in renewables’ share of power generation between 2014 and 2025 and Wood Mackenzie forecasting more than 170 gigawatts of new renewables capacity each year through 2030.

Renewables in Latin America Set to Grow 250%, to 123 Gigawatts, by 2025

Renewable energy capacity in Latin America is set to grow 2½ times, from 49 gigawatts today to 123 gigawatts in 2025, with Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina leading the rise of an emerging “green powerhouse”, analysts at Rystad Energy write in a new assessment for Energy Voice News.

Barry: U.S. Must Choose ‘Dignified Life’, Regenerative Economy for Citizens in Sacrifice Zones

Millions of Americans live in so-called “sacrifice zones,” where racism and rapacious economic imperatives are robbing entire communities of the fundamentals for a healthy and dignified life. That has activists calling for the creation of a regenerative economy in which communities have a direct say in the policies and decisions that affect their world.

Replace Pickering Nuclear Plant with Renewables, Not Gas, OCAA Urges

The impending closure of Ontario’s Pickering Nuclear Station is an opportunity to build a sustainable energy system based on sound energy efficiency programs, investment in local renewables, and hydroelectric power held in the public control—not ramped-up gas power generation, says the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Trump Administration Suppresses Landmark Grid Study that Boosted Renewables, Undercut Coal

The Trump administration has spent the last two years suppressing a landmark study by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that showed the potential of a national “supergrid” to jump-start the country’s use of solar and wind energy—to the detriment of the coal industry that Trump himself swore to protect when he turned the White House into his latest reality TV studio.

New Bacterial Research Uncovers Fossil-Free Building Block for Plastic

In news that bodes ill for a fossil industry that has pinned its hopes for survival on plastics production, scientists have discovered that ethylene, a fundamental building block of plastic polymers, can be created by a type of sulfur-metabolizing bacteria. The findings could lead to a future of fossil-free plastics.

Big Financial Loss Prompts Petronas to ‘Reassess’ Oil and Gas Investments, Expand Renewables

One of the partners in British Columbia’s massive LNG Canada megaproject, Malaysian state fossil Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), is planning to cut global oil and gas production and expand its presence in solar and wind after posting a US$5.06-billion loss between April and June of this year.

Hundreds of Thousands Face Blackouts, Wildfires, Evacuations as California Heat Wave Continues

Hundreds of thousands of Californians are facing down a continuing, extreme heat wave, while coping with power system blackouts brought on by a new round of uncontrolled wildfires that are “knocking out power plants, triggering evacuations, and threatening to take out the lights no matter how much the state conserves,” Bloomberg Green reports.

IRENA Flags ‘Staggering’ $3.1 Trillion in Fossil Subsidies, 20 Times More than Renewables

The global fossil industry received a “staggering” US$3.1 trillion in direct and indirect subsidies in 2017, 20 times more than renewable energy, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) revealed in an analysis released last week.

Nuclear Industry Survey Shows 86% Public Support for Federal Investment in Clean Energy

More than three-quarters of Canadians see climate change as a serious issue, 57% say it has affected them or their loved ones, and 86% want the federal government to invest in clean energy technology to help address the crisis, according to an Abacus Data report released this week by the Canadian Nuclear Association.

Renewables Post ‘Seismic Shift’, Deliver Two-Thirds of New Power Generation in 2019

Renewable energy delivered more than two-thirds of the 265 gigawatts of new electricity generation capacity installed around the world last year, with solar alone accounting for 45% of the total, according to the Power Transition Trends 2020 report issued this week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Biden Win Would Deliver ‘Next Big Push’ to Renewable Energy Stocks

Renewable energy stocks that have “performed superbly” in spite of the Trump presidency are poised to do even better, if a Biden victory in the U.S. election this fall gives the cleantech sector its “next big push,” the Globe and Mail reported last month.

Shutting Most Coal, Gas Plants Could Save Southeastern U.S. $384 Billion by 2040

Seven states in the southeastern United States could save US$384 billion by 2040 by setting up competitive pricing for grid electricity and phasing out most of their coal-fired power stations and natural gas peaker plants, according to a new analysis released last week.

‘Unlikely Allies’ Create Renewable Energy Opportunities in Alberta

What do oil executives and climate activists have in common? Not much, if you listen to popular media narratives pitting environmental protection against economic growth. But at the Energy Futures Lab, diverse innovators and stakeholders in Alberta’s energy sector are finding plenty of room for collaboration.

UPDATED: Turnover at Finance Opens Door for a ‘Fundamental Retooling of the Canadian Economy’

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s dramatic resignation last night opens up an opportunity for his successor to embrace a green and just recovery as a cornerstone of the federal government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, leading climate and energy strategists have told The Energy Mix.

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Plug-In Hybrids Miss Their Carbon Targets as Owners Fail to Charge Batteries

A new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters gets at the strange and vexing question of why some car owners in the United States go to the trouble of buying plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), then rarely if ever plug them in.

Use Community Power, Grassroot Investment to Fuel Green Recovery, Energy Co-ops Urge

A group of seven renewable energy co-ops from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia is calling on the federal government to emphasize community power procurement, deep energy retrofits, and smart grid development in economic stimulus responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

4,000-MW Coal Plan ‘Won’t Provide Much Space’ for Pakistan’s Ambitious Renewables Target

Pakistan may be jeopardizing its own hopes of bringing renewable energy to 30% of its electricity mix by 2030, from 4% today, by pursuing a parallel plan to build new coal plants.

India Coal Mining Plan Endangers Ecologically Sensitive Forests, Indigenous Way of Life

India’s plan to boost an economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce its dependence on expensive coal imports is producing a moment of deep peril for the Hasdeo Arand, a biodiverse, ecologically sensitive forest in the state of Chhattisgarh, as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi sets its sights on the five billion tonnes of coal beneath the surface.

New Mexico’s Off-Coal Transition Plan Includes Community Dialogue, Jobs Outside Energy

New Mexico is emerging as a promising model for governments aiming to phase out coal without leaving behind the households and communities that depend on coal industry jobs, after an Albuquerque-based private utility decided to divest its share of the 925-megawatt San Juan coal plant in 2022 and invest in 650 MW of solar generation and 300 MW of battery storage.

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PetroChina’s ‘Green, Low-Carbon Model’ Shows Renewables Reshaping the Future

China’s most colossal fossil is investing some of its winnings in renewable energy after selling off US$38 billion worth of pipelines, after concluding it can make more money by switching technologies.

‘Agrivoltaics’ Pairs Grazing Sheep with Solar Arrays for Mutual Baaa-nefit

Solar developers and sheep farmers are being increasingly found in harmonious co-existence across the United States—and reduced fire risk, heightened community acceptance, and a shot at spectacular cost savings are three key reasons why.

Groundbreaking New Grid Model Would Eliminate up to 80% of U.S. Emissions by 2035

A new energy model is being hailed as the long-awaited technical manual for a Green New Deal in the U.S., a roadmap to the mass electrification that will allow the country to decarbonize its power grid by 2035.

Utility-Scale Battery Project Could Be ‘Game-Changer’ for Alberta Utility

A “really cool” utility-scale storage project that matches up a local wind farm with Tesla batteries is being cast as a possible game-changer for Calgary-based TransAlta Corporation, Alberta’s biggest utility.

Offshore Wind Could Create 900,000 Jobs, Grow Eightfold by 2030

The offshore wind industry is poised to increase its output eightfold, from 29 to 234 gigawatts, and create 900,000 or more jobs by 2030, according to new analysis by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) that shows China leading the growth in installed capacity.

BC Hydro, NDP Blame COVID-19 for Site C Overruns, Despite Pre-Existing Problems

Two years after an international expert wrote a lengthy report on the myriad factors likely to lead to major construction cost overruns on the Site C hydroelectric dam, BC Hydro is blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for the multiple woes that now beset the megaproject. Not so fast, say those who have long and fiercely opposed it.

Alberta’s Fossil Tax Relief Plan Downloads Financial Pain to Small Communities

Alberta’s United Conservative Party is considering relieving the province’s oil and gas operators of their obligation to pay municipal property taxes, an act of corporate welfare that would leave rural communities unable to balance their budgets without resorting to steep residential tax hikes or savage cuts to services. 

BP Declares 40% Production Cut by 2030, Boosts Renewables, After Pandemic Delivers Big Quarterly Loss

London, UK-based BP says it will reduce its fossil fuel output 40% by 2030 and scale back its dividend to shareholders for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in 2010, as the world’s fourth most colossal fossil responds to mounting calls for climate action, the economic chaos wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, and a US$6.7-billion quarterly loss.

Expand Natural Gas Energy Efficiency to Boost Economy, Create Jobs, Groups Urge Ontario

The Ontario Energy Board must expand the province’s natural gas energy efficiency programs as a way to meet provincial carbon targets, create jobs, and drive the COVID-19 economic recovery, Efficiency Canada argues in a letter it submitted yesterday to three senior provincial cabinet ministers.

New Study Shows Low-Carbon Technologies Cutting Industrial Emissions 86% by 2050

Businesses across 14 industrial sectors in the OECD plus Brazil, Russia, India, and China could use new technologies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 86% by 2050, according to a new study by Boston Consulting Group for the German Engineering Federation (VDMA).

RBC Becomes First Canadian Bank to Sign Renewable Energy Purchase Agreement

The Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest chartered bank and one of its biggest boosters for new fossil infrastructure, is dipping its toe in the world of renewable energy finance by buying into two new solar farms producing a combined 39 megawatts of electricity in southeast Alberta.

Plummeting Wind Costs Could Make ‘Green’ Hydrogen Cost-Competitive by 2023

Less than two weeks after a report that renewably-produced “green” hydrogen could be cost competitive with fossil-dependent “grey” by 2030, a new analysis by banking giant Morgan Stanley says plummeting wind energy prices could push green hydrogen into the lead by 2023.

Abu Dhabi Project Sets New Low Price Record with 1.35¢/kWh for Utility-Scale Solar

Utility-scale solar has hit another absurdly low price threshold, with a consortium of four companies offering a tariff price of US1.35¢ per kilowatt hour for the two-gigawatt Al Dhafra solar farm in Abu Dhabi.

IEA Risks Credibility with Projections that Enable New Fossil Megaprojects

The International Energy Agency is giving political cover to new fossil megaprojects, and risks undermining its own influence over the next few years, by failing to put a 1.5°C limit on average global warming at the centre of its modelling and analysis, according to several analysts and campaigners cited in a review this week by Climate Home News.

Afghan Opium Farms Embrace Solar in Rapid Transformation with Consequences

The BBC is focusing its attention in an unlikely direction—the opium fields of Afghanistan’s Helmand province—for proof of how quickly solar can scale up and become profitable, for better and for worse.

Ohio Plans Repeal of Coal, Nuclear Bailout After Bribery Scandal Snares House Speaker

The outsized political power of U.S. utilities has come into sharp focus over the last 10 days, with bribery scandals in Ohio and Illinois reaching senior politicians in both states, including the speakers of both state houses.

Place Indigenous Youth at Centre of Clean Energy Partnerships, McCarthy and Morrison Urge

Ottawa and the provinces must work harder to support Canada’s Indigenous peoples in becoming full partners in the clean energy transition—and Indigenous youth need to be encouraged, mentored, and supported to lead those partnerships, according to a recent opinion piece in iPolitics.

Storage Can Speed Transition to Renewable Grid, But Obstacles Remain, Study Finds

Increased reliance on electricity storage will make it easier for established power grids to retire their coal- and gas-fired power plants, postpone pricey and often controversial transmission line expansions, and get more output from the renewable energy installations they invest in, according to a new study in the journal Applied Energy.

Task Force Urges $50B for ‘Bold’, Resilient Recovery, Including $27B for Building Retrofits

An independent task force of Canadian finance and policy experts is calling on the federal government to invest C$50 billion over the next five years in five “bold moves for a resilient recovery”, with a $27-billion building energy retrofit program leading a list of 22 specific policy measures.

Renewable Generation Beats Out Fossil Electricity in EU First

The first six months of 2020 saw renewables edging out fossils in Europe’s power mix for the first time, thanks to the happy conjunction of two events—good weather for renewables, and their increasing priority on the grid—and the addition of a miserable third: a pandemic-driven drop in demand.

Details Scarce as Canada Pledges to Triple Annual Energy Efficiency Improvements

The federal government is promising to triple the pace of Canada’s energy efficiency improvements to 3% per year, and the country’s energy efficiency advocacy network, Efficiency Canada, is out with a three-point plan to get started down that path.

Coalition Urges Ontario to Phase Out Gas-Fired Electricity by 2030 [Sign-On]

Nearly three dozen local, provincial, and national organizations are calling on Ontario to phase out its pricey natural gas power plants and abandon a plan that would increase carbon pollution from burning gas 300% by 2025 and 400% by 2040.

Smart City Technologies Support Post-COVID Push for Energy Efficiency, Emission Reductions

Smart city technologies are poised to increase energy efficiency and encourage sustainable living in municipalities focused on building back better after the COVID-19 pandemic and curbing their greenhouse gas emissions, Oilprice.com reports.

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EU Treats Climate as ‘Pawn in Bigger Negotiation’, Adopts World’s Greenest Stimulus with Too Little Enforcement

Just a day after declaring it a “mission impossible”, leaders of 27 European countries finalized a COVID-19 recovery plan and seven-year budget worth €1.8 trillion, with nearly one-third of the total set aside for climate measures but reduced funding to key climate initiatives and only limited “green strings” to prevent investments in polluting industries.

South Korea Fails to Adopt Net-Zero Deadline with New Green Investment Plan

South Korea stepped back from setting a deadline for phasing out its greenhouse gas emissions last week is it unveiled a ₩42.7-trillion/US$35-billion plan to invest in renewable energy and environmental infrastructure.

Record Offshore Wind Spending Keeps Renewables Investment ‘Resilient’ through Pandemic

Global investment in offshore wind development quadrupled over the first half of this year, with US$35 billion pouring into 28 new projects, despite the deep economic shock triggered by the pandemic, Bloomberg NEF reported this week.

Adow: UK’s Mozambique Pipeline Plan Is Morally, Financially Negligent

As the Boris Johnson government debates greenlighting a billion-pound loan guarantee for a gas pipeline project in Mozambique, Mohamed Adow of Power Shift Africa urges UK leaders to reject the proposal—so utterly out of touch with the climate crisis—as financially idiotic, politically myopic, and morally bankrupt.

Biden’s $2-Trillion Plan Points to Climate as Key Draw for Younger, First-Time Voters

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden unveiled a four-year, US$2-trillion climate strategy yesterday that represented a major acceleration from his previous plan. It was interpreted as a sign that his party sees climate change as an issue that will drive voters to the polls this fall, drawing crucial support from younger and first-time voters.

‘Californication’ of B.C. Grid Cuts Off Indigenous, Other Local Suppliers, Dogwood Warns [Sign-On]

Dogwood BC has launched a petition campaign against what it calls the “Californication” of British Columbia’s power grid, decrying a provincial plan to buy surplus electricity from private utilities in the Golden State while preventing B.C. First Nations and residents from producing their own power at home.

Fossils Use Resource Adequacy Concerns to Delay Grid Decarbonization

Now that renewable energy has established its cost advantage over fossil fuels, the industry’s next challenge is to show grid planners they can decarbonize without jeopardizing the reliability of their systems, climate consultant Eric Gimon writes in an analysis for Greentech Media.

Former Ohio Landfill Site to Become 50-MW Solar Farm

A New York-based developer is planning to lease the site of a former landfill near Columbus, Ohio to build a 50-megawatt solar farm.

David Suzuki Foundation Fellow Brings Power to the People

A member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, Melina Laboucan-Massimo has a master’s degree in Indigenous governance and is the founder of Lubicon Solar and Sacred Earth Solar and co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action. She’s also the host of Power to the People, an exciting new series on APTN that explores the renewable energy revolution empowering Indigenous communities throughout Canada and around the world.

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Indigenous Communities Now a Top-Three Canadian Clean Energy Owner

Indigenous communities are now the third-biggest ownership bloc of clean energy projects in Canada, together operating 171 significant projects, with 26 more on the way. The Crown and private utilities are first and second in the list.

Edmonton Airport Announces Plans for 120-MW Solar Farm

The Edmonton International Airport is close to signing a deal with Germany-based Alpin Sun to create a showcase renewable energy project that will see a canola field west of its runways transformed into the world’s biggest airport-based solar farm.

U.S. Rooftop Panel Installer Sunrun Buys Competitor Vivint, Creates ‘New Solar Goliath’

The biggest home solar installer in the United States, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is buying its nearest competitor, Vivint Solar, in a deal that will make the combined company the country’s third-largest owner of solar capacity across all types of projects, reduce operating costs, and according to one news report, produce a “new solar Goliath, leaving Tesla to play David”.

Oregon Utility Tests Home Batteries as a Grid Storage Resource

The biggest utility in Oregon is launching a test to see if it can turn home batteries into an energy storage resource for the centralized grid.

Three Projects, Three Wins: Flurry of Decisions Shows U.S. Pipelines Becoming ‘Unbuildable’

The last 48 hours have seen a dizzying series of announcements highlighting the increasingly shaky prospects for North American oil and gas pipelines, with the US$8-billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline cancelled, the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting a bid to immediately restart construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordering the Dakota Access Pipeline shut down for contravening U.S. environmental law.

Exxon Reports Second Straight Quarterly Loss, Plans U.S. Job Cuts

Colossal fossil Exxon-Mobil is reporting a second straight quarterly loss and preparing to fire up to 10% of its white collar work force in the United States, as the impact of crashing oil demand makes itself felt by the company that has most steadfastly denied that a shifting global economy could have any impact on its business.

Small Modular Reactors Raise Nuclear Waste Risk, Distract from Real Climate Solutions

The rise of “small” nuclear reactors (SMRs) raises serious concerns about radioactive waste disposal and is ultimately a distraction from real climate solutions, according to two separate analyses published days apart in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, two of the three provinces that have been touting the technology.